UPDATE: *After letting this sit for a few months, I’ve determined: this post is too long-winded. Read only if you’re stranded at the airport*
The past month has been about as pleasant as being tossed into a 3 story-high pile of other people’s wet bandaids. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, to use an unoriginal — yet apt — cliche. Mostly it was all downhill in the beginning, with me wringing my hands and sobbing uncontrollably about, “What’s so wrong with me that Steven just couldn’t bear to be with me any longer?” As you all know, my self-esteem has always been in the shitter, and this certainly didn’t help matters. I used it to beat myself up.
But then a funny thing happened, something I wasn’t even expecting. My brain, no longer soaked with vodka, began to work. It turned on. It hummed alive. Synapses fired. And I got to thinking.
I mean, all that bitch had to do was hang tight. Because I was a pretty fucking great girlfriend, really. I was going to bust my ass to make him happy. If that meant paying for his plane ticket up to see me once a month, or getting him little things he needed here or there (I have a pair of Bob Marley canvas shoes in a size 9.5 if you know a homeless stoner who wants them, and I’m sure my purchase of beard wax has totally fucked up my Amazon.com recommendations), or cooking my ass off for him, or staying on my knees until they were numb. *Ahem* I would have done it all and then some. But with his dismissal of me, he, in essence said: No. That’s not enough. YOU are not enough. YOU will never be loveable enough.
And for a while, that hurt. Like a splinter…stuck in a paper cut….over a fresh episiotomy incision…with some sriracha dribbled on top for good measure. All I could think about is what his rejection said about me.
I sat up, cocked my head to the side, narrowed my eyes and said, “Wait, what!? He must be the stupidest motherfucker who ever lived. I wasn’t good enough for him? I didn’t give him enough of what he needed? …in the hell? Bitch is crazier than a pillowcase full of rabid possums.”
Here’s the deal, Lucille: nothing I’m going to say here is to be vindictive. Everything I’m going to say is actually pretty objective and fair, considering. If I wanted to be mean and snarky, there’s plenty of shit that I could say, trust. I could be hurtful and bitchy and try to get back at him. But that’s not what I’m going to do. Because for one thing, I’m still in love with the dumb fuckstick. (Unlike him, my feelings don’t go away overnight. Hell, I might love him forever. At the very least, the mere sight of him will always make me weak in the knees. And vagina.) And second, spite accomplishes nothing; it just reflects poorly on my character. It’s who I used to be.
But before I get started, let me say this as a quick preface. For anyone who thinks that maybe I jumped into this too quickly, and that I was too eager to believe all his bullshit about wanting to be with me forever: he told me when we were strictly platonic friends that he loved me. He told me that at a time when I had absolutely no reason in the world to think we’d ever, EVER be more than friends, when he was 5 hours away and living his life…even though I had been in love with him for a while. So the jump from friends to lovers was a natural, easy one. It’s not like he was some strange, random dickhole I met online. I was determined to stay celibate my first year. Steven was the only fucking human being alive who could have gotten me to break that promise to myself. Because I loved him, had loved him, and wanted a chance with him that badly. Shame on me.
So. Here’s what I’ve determined: his rejection of me says very little about me and a whole lot about him. He is an emotionally-unavailable vortex of suck who completely misrepresented himself, who is still behaving like a common drunk, who thinks nothing of hurting others and who wouldn’t know a good thing if it jumped up and gently tickled his balls. He was lucky I even gave him a shot, that he even got to float around in my atmosphere for a while. He could have had a great life with me.
I’ve never been able to say this before and truly mean it, but now I can: this really is his loss. It’s taken me 36 loooong years to get to this point…but here I am. And it’s not even that I’m pissed; it’s righteous indignation. Because finally, I get it.
At best, he’s fickle and says things he doesn’t mean. At worst, he’s a pathological liar who doesn’t have a problem hurting people. He is not to be believed, not one thing that he says. Not how he feels, not how he’s over somebody, not how well-adjusted he is, not how he doesn’t need to go to that many AA meetings, nothing. Nothing that tumbled out of his pie hole was true. Not. One. Word. He is so deluded that he can’t speak the truth; he’s incapable of it.
Someone wise needs to tell him that the answer ain’t in a new girlfriend. Because what he’s searching for? It isn’t out there. What he’s looking for is actually inside of him. He keeps thinking his salvation is in the form of another person. He keeps thinking he just hasn’t found the right girl yet. It doesn’t have to do with the right girl, it didn’t have to do with me, it had to do with him. He’s never going to find it out there if that’s where he keeps looking.
Steven, like many of us, gets hung up on the “falling in love” part. (And that shit is intoxicating. I love that feeling. It’s the heroin of feelings.) But he wanders the world, spewing platitudes, while remaining totally unknown to himself. He walks into people’s lives and uses them to feel good. When they no longer serve this purpose, he leaves. He convincingly portrays himself as someone who’s solid, whose word means something. But if you can come unglued because of a photograph, then you’re more emotionally fragile than either he or I even knew. What’s going to happen if his ex-wife gets engaged? Or God forbid, married? Or pregnant? Or becomes single? Is he going to have a breakdown each time? Spiral out of control and dump whoever he’s with that day? Damn, dude. Get a grip.
And to be fair, his conflicted feelings for his ex weren’t the only reason he left me high and dry. I couldn’t live up to his expectations. I wasn’t perfect, I couldn’t give him what he thinks he’s entitled to. I was flawed. A bit of a basket case. Maybe not sexy enough. Less than 90 days sober when we got together. A work in progress. And I warned him of all these things. I was honest about where I was. If he ever listened to a word I said – and that’s debatable – then he should have known. I’m well aware what my flaws are, because I know who I am. I am not a mystery to myself. And I am working every damn day to get better.
In the end, God (the Universe for you non-believers) did me an epic favor. One I undoubtedly wouldn’t have done for myself. Because up until the very bitter end, I was arrogant enough to think that my love was the elixir. That it could save him, heal him. And that it was perfectly okay for me to give and give and give, when there was virtually no return for my investment.
Truthfully, he didn’t have much to offer. Not in got-my-financial-shit-together ways, but especially not more important stuff, like his whole heart, or integrity or stability. Or his word, because he breaks his word and he says things he doesn’t mean and can’t back up.
I am smarter and wiser and stronger today than I was a month ago, and I have this failed relationship to thank for that. The mistakes I made with him and every other love in my past I will never make again, God willing. Enough with these assholes who show up and talk a good game, yet bring precisely nothing to the table. No. Just…no. No more. Fuck it, I’d rather be alone. At least I wouldn’t be continually disappointed.
All of my faults, and all of my hangups, and all of my shit is stuff that can change. It doesn’t say anything about me fundamentally. My anxiety, or that I’m too needy — all that can change. It doesn’t negate the goodness and purity of my heart. But when you treat someone the way that he treated me, that speaks to your goddamned character. That tells me who you are. Not how you behave…it’s just fucking WHO YOU ARE.
Call me jaded, but love isn’t enough for me anymore. As of today, right this second: love and fairy tale shit is for teenagers. I am 36 goddamned years old. I have a life and a career and friends that I have cultivated and built here, in a huge metropolitan city that I love. For me to be with Steven, I would have had to give all of that up, and move down to Bumblefuck, in the crotch of Texas better known as the Gulf coast, to look after him and his. I would have sacrificed everything, and gained very little, except maybe the privilege of saying I had a husband. He was the one who really stood to gain something from us staying together. Of course, not that he sees it that way. He has 1 to 1,001 reasons why we didn’t work, and the bottom line is, it all has to do with ME. I wasn’t this or that enough. Or maybe it’s his ex-wife’s fault. The one who’ll get a pass, who’ll be blame-free and unscathed, is Steven. It’s always everyone else’s issues.
How do I know he thinks I’m the reason for this breakup? Because of something he tweeted shortly after our breakup. Something about maybe being alone is the best option, since “what he’s looking for doesn’t seem to be out there.” Wait, so he’s back out there, actively looking for someone new to be with? Are you fucking joking? Oh, but it was my deficiencies that caused this. I was the problem. Oh, okay. Right, Ace. Good thinking. Yes, by all means: you just haven’t found your magical girlfriend yet, the one who will make everything alright. Keep looking…like under that rock over there.
At the end of the day, he doesn’t think that I’m good enough for him. He doesn’t think that I have enough to offer him. And the truth is, I am so much more than he ever deserved.
So no, no more cutesy love stories. Not enough. I am not a schoolgirl. This ain’t my first rodeo, and I wasn’t born yesterday. I had been a little bit in love with Steven for months before we got together, mainly because we were friends…and that’s entirely on me. He’d been there for me in one of my darkest moments in life, and he is hella funny and has made me laugh thousands of times and I thought he was foxy in that bad-boy type of way.
But that doesn’t mean any of that should parlay into a relationship. Because once you start a relationship with a friend, no matter what you say or think, that person is no longer just your friend. I lulled myself into a false sense of security based on our friendship, and how he’d been hurt before, and surely he wouldn’t hurt me.
But when you get involved with a friend, they suddenly become someone who can hurt you, disappoint you, or royally fuck you over if you let them because you’ve given them access to your heart. And, they can ultimately be lost to you when things go south. You must be careful. You can’t give them the same benefit of the doubt that you give your strictly platonic friends. When sex & love get involved, everything changes. I should have known that from a hard lesson I learned 10 years ago, that was almost identical to what happened with Steven. But I didn’t learn that lesson well enough, apparently, because it was taught to me again. This time, THIS TIME, I get it. Book ‘em, Danno.
Because you know what? I deserve better. For one thing, I am not looking for some man to save me. Because God saved me. AA saved me. My friends saved me. I saved me. And unlike Steven, I am committed to absolutely staying single and celibate for the next 6 months, not because I want to (or couldn’t get any, because PAOLO), but because I need to. It’s imperative to my success. Until I have a year’s sobriety under my belt, no love/sex shit.
Until then, I’m putting my head down, my nose to the grindstone, and working on ME. Love interests be damned. I should’ve had that attitude months ago, and I almost did, because even the Holy Sex Trifecta (Alex Skarsgard, Adrien Brody and Bill Clinton — don’t ask) could have shown up at my door and I would have been all, “Thank you gentleman, but no. Please take your spectacular wangs and begone. I can’t get attached.” Steven was the one person on the face of the earth who could have gotten me to break that pact I had with myself. Because I had been smitten with him for months. I couldn’t see beyond the possibility of what it would be like to be with him, because I was in love. Well, now I know. And color me underwhelmed.
So now it’s about me getting in the right frame of mind to do what’s best for ME. I’ve never had my head on straight (alcohol and self-pity are mostly to blame for this) and that’s probably most of the reason I’ve ended up with a stream of unimpressive love interests in my adult life. Like attracted like.
But now? I’ll say this:
Listen up, eligible motherfuckers. Have your shit together. I’m getting my shit together; you should be too. Have a goddamned savings account. Own a home. Drive something that doesn’t break down every 100 miles. Dress like a grown-ass man. Behave like a gentleman in public. Shower, brush your teeth, be hygienic. Quit rebelling against The Man. Have your emotional shit worked out. Don’t be an unrepentant, incorrigible asshole. Be able and willing to take me out somewhere nice every once in a while. Know that in bed? I COME FIRST – trust me, it’ll pay off for you later. Don’t be selfish, and don’t be a chauvinist pig. Be someone I don’t dread taking home to my family and friends. Don’t be an overgrown child. Don’t be a slob. You should have a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out of. Know who the damn Secretary of State is. Have some integrity. Be a man of your word. When you say something, motherfucker, MEAN IT. Don’t be a coward. Don’t run away from your problems. Know who in the hell you are. Admit when you’re being a turd. Stay and fight, don’t cut and run. Don’t just talk the talk; walk the walk. Be a goddamned MAN.
Steven could give me none of that. And yet…I loved him. I was willing to settle for some things that really gave me pause. Even early on in our relationship, I very quietly mused to a friend, “You know, this’ll make me sound like an ungrateful asshole…but what in the fuck is in this for me, exactly?” This is when Steven was busy showering me with promises and stories about how he wanted to be with me forever, and that in an ideal world, it’d be me, his kids and him, all living happily ever after in Bumblefuck, Texas. In a house he hasn’t built. On land he hasn’t purchased. But I loved the story.
But seeing that tweet snapped me into reality. Big time. All of a sudden, all the bullshit came cascading down, and I finally got it.
He will probably never be happy, or satisfied. He will always have a conflict with the original woman in his life: his ex-wife. You cannot love him enough, or fix him. He will always think that there’s someone better than you out there who can really, REALLY be The Answer. If you only knew what all he said to me (and the screengrabs I posted in the previous blog were just the tip of the iceberg), then you’d know he was just about as in love with me as one could possibly profess to be. But it wasn’t real. His feelings, his intentions, his plans. None of it was rooted in reality…because he has no reality. He is the person who is capable of telling a woman that he’s in love with her and wants to be with her forever and have children with her one month…and then abruptly cuts her out of his life the next. That’s what kind of person he is, in a nutshell. If you were wondering.
So we both have some growing to do. The difference is, I’m going to take time off of trying to fall in love (or onto some premium cock) and find someone to be a temporary salve. I am going to work my ass off getting MYSELF healthy. Of getting myself to a point where I’m in a good place to find love should it come around…and in a good place if that love never comes around. I’ve never been particularly happy with myself. And especially in the past 10 years, when I drank every single fucking day, finding happiness anywhere was damn near impossible. I didn’t believe in myself, didn’t think I deserved more than what I was getting, and I settled for crumbs. Scraps. Third and fourth best.
(serious props to whoever gets this reference, for it is obscure)
No more. If I have to be on this earth anywhere from the next minute – 60 years, then by-God, I’m going to eliminate as much bullshit as possible, and try to create and bask in as much joy and happiness as I can. And in order to do that, I have to be okay. I have to be healthy. I have to get real with myself, every time I look in the mirror. I can’t let myself get away with bullshit. I have to be honest, accountable, and fearless.
My heartbreak with Steven brought this out of me. It’s why it happened, I have no doubt. I’m just another (I’m sure forgettable) notch on his belt, and he will go forth undaunted, even claiming to be stronger. He’ll beat his chest and holler some pop philosophy, but, like everything else with him, it’s just words. His behavior will never change until he gets real. And I don’t see that happening any time soon. But it ain’t my problem anymore.
Am I sad that this is how we ended? YES. God yes. Heartbroken. Devastated. In the past month, you have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to call him or write him and be all, “DUDE. You won’t believe what this asshole did to me!”
The hardest thing for me to let go of here is the fact that he was my dear, sweet friend, and the only friend I had in one of my darkest hours. I just want my friend back. I think about him 100 times a day, especially when I see something funny; he’s still the first person I want to tell it to. He was a perfect friend, a great friend….just an epic fail as a boyfriend. The worst part of this is that I’ve had to come to terms with who he really is. My friend is not who I thought he was.
I wish I didn’t have to let him go, but I can’t see a way to keep him in my life at this point, not after the way things went down. Even though those were his parting words to me: I’ll always be your friend. Oh…okay. Except when your dick and the word love is involved — then you get to treat me like garbage. And you know what? I have enough fucking friends. Good friends. Great friends. Friends who would never, ever hurt me. Friends who aren’t what you’d call fair weather. He showed me what true friendship means to him.
I don’t mean to be glib. It still hurts. I miss the fuck out of him, and I still love him madly. And the loss of a years-long friendship, with someone I truly enjoyed as a friend, is the saddest fucking thing in the entire world to me. So much sadder than the loss of our relationship, which didn’t last three foggy mornings. If I shed anymore tears over this — and I will — it will be because I lost a dear, beloved friend. I never, ever thought this would be our ending. It was the biggest donkey-punch to the heart as I’ve ever had. Ever. And worst of all, he’s not even contrite. He’s offered no real apology, given no hint that he was really even remorseful at all. That he’s sorry for hurting me. All he could talk about was himself, how he was trying to do the “next right thing.” But for him, never for me. Because, to hell with me.
He never once did the right thing, as he claimed. Because the right thing wasn’t to let me sit in limbo and wonder for over a fucking week what was going on. The right thing to do was not to get into a relationship with someone who had less than 90 days of sobriety and fill her head with a bunch of shit that he couldn’t back up because he didn’t mean it.
The right thing would have been to tell me in person, or at least over the phone, that we’re not going to be together anymore. Not make me twist for 8 days, and then tell me by text message – Jesus tap-dancing Christ! The right thing would have been a heartfelt apology. But no. To someone he said he wanted to be with forever, all I warranted in the end was a text message that he was still hung up on his ex-wife. That’s how much he really thought of me.
But I? Ended up with a helluva lesson. I have never thought enough of myself to demand more, to not settle for whatever sub-par bullshit someone tosses my way. I was always the girl who just wanted to be loved and would put up with anything to get it.
And in a way, I’ll always be that girl. I just can’t let her rule me. I can’t let her be the one doing the thinking and the decision making.
It’s not that I want to turn into some hard-nosed bitch. Don’t get me wrong: those women are just as insufferable as the ones who are forever a doormat to whatever sorry-ass man drifts into their life. It’s about balance, and balance has never ever been my strong suit. So I will have to learn.
But I think the reason I haven’t attracted better at this point isn’t because of my weight, which is what I’m always hung up on (down 36 lbs since I got sober…and counting!) Or even my drinking. Or the fact that I live with two very fluffy cats and may or may not give off cat lady vibes.
It’s because I always slouched around like, “Poor pitiful me, I’ll take any attention you give me.” I had no self-respect. If the guy I was dating was broke, I paid the way. If he was a jerk, I excused him. I went out of my way to make feel him comfortable and cared for. I doted on his every need. I cooked, I cleaned, I showered him with affection. I never asked for anything in return; I never demanded better. I let my shitty self-esteem dictate everything. Not that that’s an easy thing to remedy. In fact, I’m not even sure I know how to remedy it. However, I am sure, as with most other things I’ve found in the last 6 months, that the answer can be found in the 12 Steps and my wise, long-sober friends in AA.
I’ve done better and faced more in 6 months than I have in 15 years. And it’s just going to get better. But if I’d had my way, this wouldn’t have happened to me 5 months in, when I’m just getting my footing and at a time when it could have damn well compromised my sobriety. (Again, something he couldn’t have cared less about.)
Because truthfully, and for as haughty as it sounds, at 6 months, I have better sobriety than he does. If for no other reason than I could never do to someone what he did to me. Could. Not. Do it. I’m sure he went to get his 2 year chip recently, and probably crowed about how great his life is now. And yes – he deserves credit for not shoving any drugs or alcohol into his body in that two year span. But sober? Nothing about his behavior says sober to me. Sorry, chap.
But. This did happen, I did survive it, I did wake up this morning, I am hopeful, I do put my faith in God, and I learned something. I’m better for having my heart broken by someone I loved and trusted.
I learned what kind of person I really am. I learned what kind of behavior is unacceptable. I learned what I am – and am not – capable of doing to others. I learned that unless they back it up with words, talk is fucking cheap.
Because here’s the for real: yeah, I have anxiety out the asshole, and I can be neurotic and needy, and my body has absolutely taken a hit after 20 years of abuse. But those things are fixable…and I’m fixing them, as I type this. But guess what else? I’m sharp as a tack, well-educated, kind, generous, a pretty decent cook, funny, compassionate, forgiving, honest to a fault, somewhat pleasing (if not innocuous) looking, loyal, true, steadfast, and never boring. If I love you, there’s nothing I won’t do for you. I don’t lie, cheat or abuse anyone’s heart. My words mean something. When I give you my word, you can take it to the bank. And if for nothing else, I’m proud that I have that to offer. It’s a lot, actually.
You know, for a few days after our breakup, I thought I needed an apology from him to move forward.
But I don’t. I got what I needed and it was a fucking wake-up call. It was a kick in the asshole. It was life’s way of saying, “Bitch, NO.” There were a few days there that I was in limbo. I didn’t know if I was going to suck it up and survive, or if I was going to have a nervous breakdown and just cease to function. I cried for days and days. I didn’t drink, or even want to drink, but I did briefly return to some destructive behavior. I missed two days of work. I wouldn’t eat. I sobbed and ached. I stared at walls.
And briefly, I went to a dark fucking place. Dark. Like didn’t know if I was coming back dark.
But I emerged, back into the light. And after it’s all said and done, even though my heart is bruised and broken and will never be the same, and even though I am mourning a loss, I am better than I was before. Stronger. So maybe I should be grateful because, if nothing else, he gave me that.