So. I’ve talked about most this with friends before. I’ve written about this at length in emails and IMs and blog posts in other places. But hopefully this will be one of the last times. Writing about it all in one place, adding new/recent thoughts and purging it for the most part. Writing is a way for me to structure and order my thoughts for myself.
I dated a woman for a couple years. It was roller-coaster-y. We both had issues, we were probably the right people at the wrong time. We broke up several years ago and I’ve just carried that around for a long, long time. It’s impacted me more than any other break-up before or since.
That can be ok, or it can be unhealthy. Had this happened years ago, probably the worst thing that could’ve happened was a drunk-dial or a letter or email. But in today’s over-connected age, it’s so easy to stalk someone’s social media obsessively or to fire off a quick, impulsive text before your head can catch up to your heart.
She broke up with me and immediately started dating someone else. We’d talked while dating about whether we could be friends if we ever broke up. I’d stated that I didn’t think so. Maybe if we were both single, but I’d be too hurt/jealous knowing/watching her date someone else and I wouldn’t want to date someone new while still being friends with her, because us loving one another was never an issue. Even if we broke up, I’d still have feelings for her.
Because of that, she kept the fact that she was dating someone else from me. So we continued hanging out for months, trying to be friends. Even after she broke the news to me, she lied about the timelines and the strength of the relationship, always downplaying it. So I spent months trying to win her back, trying to change and improve and grow for her.
About six months after we broke up, they signed a lease and posted it on Facebook. That was really the first indication I had of the seriousness of it. She even lied about that. Just days before she told me that she wasn’t renewing her lease but that it was too soon for the two of them to move in together, she was probably going to move in with an old friend who was moving to town. Seeing the post of their new place was yet another stake through the heart. But it was a much needed wake-up call. I flipped the switch and cut ties. Unfriended and un-followed on all social media, deleted her phone number, stopped returning texts, calls and emails.
It was tough. I wanted to check her feeds everyday, but I found ways to cope. And it got a little easier. Feelings didn’t change, but the urge to reach out all day, everyday became easier to control. Life happened, and I slipped a couple times in the years that followed, but for the most part, I stayed strong.
One of the reasons why it was doable, was because she kept stalking me. I had another blog at another address. She checked that on an obsessively regular basis, generally everyday, multiple times a day. And she checked all the other forms of social media that she knew about that I didn’t/couldn’t lock down. Annoying as that is/was, it was also comforting on some level, especially the blog. During the initial weeks and months after the breakup, when I thought there was still a possibility for reconciliation, I used it regularly as a way to communicate with her. To show her a side of me I’d kept hidden in the relationship, to be vulnerable with her. I showed her how I was changing and growing for her.
Blogging was a way to both send her love letters and hate mail. Originally she had access to private posts, but after I cut ties, I cut her access. I couldn’t control whether or not she could get to public posts, but I can pour my heart out about things she couldn’t (I think) see. After I cut other ties I was still always aware of the communications channel. Sometimes I consciously used it, sometimes subconsciously and others I tried not to think of her at all and just write whatever I wanted to write.
My feelings are still conflicted. Am I still in love with her? I think so. Do I still love her? Yeah, I still do, and still want the best for her. Do I still want to be in a relationship with her? I think some days, sometimes parts of me have wanted to be. But I think more, I wanted a chance to see and talk and be involved in the decision of whether we’d be a couple. I hate that she made the decision unilaterally for us. I know that happens with most break-ups, but this one was tough, because I’d just recommitted myself to the relationship at the same time she was planning to call it off. And when I tried to win her back later, she’d already committed to the new guy, originally as a safety mechanism to keep from coming back to me. Some… childish part of me wants an opportunity if they ever break up and she’s dead single to pitch my case again, or to have the discussion to see if I still want to. But it’s not all get back together stuff. I’m mad. Mad that she keeps checking the site. If she’s off with this new guy and happy with him, why does she keep checking my linkedin profile and my blog and my twitter and blah-blah-blah. His birthday is also the same day as Valentine’s day. The two of them were away together, and yet on that day she still hit my blog twice this year, two years after our breakup. What is that? It’s disrespectful to him. It’s hurtful to me, and it’s messed up for her. How healthy is their relationship if she’s trying to maintain this tie. And I’ve told her how it impacts me and asked her to stop, numerous times. Unless of course, they both look at it together and just mock me. Then it’s just hurtful to me.
So my posts the last couple of years have been all over the place. Knowing she’s with him, some of them have been screw-yous to her. My life is awesome. Some of them have been sad, probably to try to induce some guilt. Some of them have probably tried to show that I’m still growing and changing in a way that would be attractive to her. I don’t really know the breakdown and I’m not going to go look, because that would just be sad and depressing. I tried to not let her looking influence me, but I’m sure I made some titles to private posts juicier than they needed to be to drive her crazy that she couldn’t read them.
Finally I’d had enough, and since she wouldn’t stop going to my blog, I just moved here. It needed to be done, it should’ve been done long ago. But it comes with a fresh wave of feelings. Ripped some scabs off. It is severing that link. And I didn’t realize how much I was using it, til I had to force myself to stop. I hate that I can’t make another back-channel appeal, that I can’t torment her, that I can’t try to make her feel guilty or sad that she lost me. She was one of my best friends. I still hate that I can’t share a million different things with her. How my son’s doing, how my health is, some funny story about someone we both knew. It’s been several weeks, and the shock of it all is wearing off and the urge to go running back to the old site and post something is fading. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so hard. I thought the break-up was so long ago and so much anger and resentment for her continuing to stalk me had grown that it’d be easier.
The funny part of all of this? Is that with all of the other stuff I’ve been through. ALL of it, that this is what messes with me the most.