At one point in our relationship, the ex and I spent a little, well, a lot, of time shouting about what we both wanted from each other. I found the whole thing pretty impressive, since I have never been a shouter, and most people would find it amazing that I have ever screamed at anyone in my life. I guess I thought that if we were that passionate, it meant that we felt that passionately about each other, and not the more obvious- maybe if you spend so much time screaming at this person you shouldn’t be with them.
As it turns out, my dear homo-of-my-heart BC, who introduced me to the ex, and the ex have been in touch lately and got to talking. And it seems that the ex doesn’t understand exactly why it ended when he was “just trying to find himself”. Of course, his version of finding himself involved “I love you” text messages to another woman while I planned our wedding. But the ex, in his infinite wisdom, somehow got the idea that because we both loved each other so much, I would understand him completely and somehow know that it was some sort of self-definition need he was meeting or some crap like that.
To which, I reply screaming again-” YOU ARE 29 YEARS OLD!!!! YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT CHEATING IS NOT ‘FINDING YOURSELF’!!!!!”.
But now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ve been thinking. About the kind of woman I am and the kind of woman I’d like to be, in or out of a relationship. And I’m almost completely sure that the kind of woman I’d like to be is not one who people assume they can run around “finding themselves” on. I’m disturbed that a person who was in my life for years and I agreed to marry even thought I was that kind of person. And while I’m proud of my empathetic self, there is only so much understanding one woman can do before she decides not to.
The standard Maya Angelou quote always applies- “When people show you who they are, believe them.” He kept showing me who he was- that he couldn’t be trusted, that what he said and did were two totally different things, that he was hedging his bets for something better. And the more he showed me, the less I believed him. Until it got to the point where he somehow assumed it must be OK to treat me that way- he’d shown me who he was time and again. And I had accepted it. I taught him to treat me that way.
And that scares me big time. I think of myself as a fairly together woman- decent career, good friends, head on my shoulders. And somehow that relationship that I desperately clung to is this vortex of warped in my life that I haven’t completely grieved and never want to replicate. I moved past denial to anger, bargained before the breakup, but I’m not quite at acceptance, no matter how hard I try.
Which leaves depression. Not the kind that keeps you stuck to the couch sobbing or unable to eat. But the lingering sticky kind of depression that makes you feel bad about yourself, question what’s wrong with you to live like you have. None of the traditional psychobabble seems to apply- I have parents who have been happily married and treated each other well as far as I know for 33 years. So, in the depths of it, I decide it must be something wrong with me. Something I don’t feel like foisting back out onto the dating market.
And so I avoid anything that might even turn into a real date, because honestly, no decent human being should have to put up with all my baggage until I get my head screwed on straight. And I manage about 95% of any day to think about plenty of other things besides a relationship that I know I should be completely over.
But it’s the 5% that gets me every time. The time that I resent belonging to thoughts about someone who just doesn’t get it.
So tonight I’m off for happy hour with the cute shoes bureaucrats and to pretend none of this has occurred to me at all. Because another oft-repeated saying applies and I believe it: Fake it til you make it.