The Breakup

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If a breakfast comprised of Reese’s Peanut Butter Easter eggs and Diet Dr. Pepper is a sign of anything in an adult woman, it’s a sign of emotional distress.

Yes, my boyfriend of almost two years and I broke up Friday night. Only, I think he didn’t realize I took it as a break up and now he wants to come over to talk.

So I’ve been eating a bunch of chocolate. Which is totally healthy, in both a psychological and dietary sense.

It would have taken months of me actually maintaining this blog to list all the things that were failing in our relationship, but the biggest two were that my boyfriend still gave a lot of his time and energy into his hatred for his ex-wife and that he was unable or unwillingly to let go of that hatred so that he could instead spend his time and energy on positive interaction. With, you know, his girlfriend.

I told him last July, “I can’t take any more of this,” and was met with, “No, no, things will get better, I promise!” so I stayed. A few months later, I told him again, “I feel like I’m getting punched in the stomach every week with all this stress, I can’t take it!” and he enticed me with hopeful statements of good change and I stayed. I was yelled at by his ex, I was uninvited to events because his kids no longer wanted me to attend, and I was subjected to my once-loving boyfriend calling me names and stooping to lows I didn’t know were possible for him. When confronted about his hurtful words he blamed me. I’d pushed him too far, he said. Or I was being too sensitive. Any apologies that came out of his mouth felt like placating.

With each bad day and bad week I became more hardened. I started thinking an afternoon spent alone would be preferable to another afternoon spent listening to him complain about his ex wife and his failing relationship with his kids. My patience as the supportive girlfriend wore thinner and thinner and I began to understand that his unhappiness was not a result of just his disastrous divorce, but his inability to let go of that anger and move forward with his life.

He was dragging me into his abyss, and I was letting him. Shame on both of us.

So Friday he came over to my house. This was two nights after he’d said something rude about a photo of me from a couple of years ago and given me the silent treatment when I asked why he was mad about something else (isn’t he always frustrated about something?). I’d lost all fight – I didn’t care anymore what happened.

He wanted our evening together to be normal, he didn’t want to hear me tell him that he’d hurt me yet again. So when I tried to talk to him about these things he said, “I guess I’m just too negative for you. I think we’re over,” and he took his stuff and left my house without another word.

I cried. Then I felt like I shouldn’t be crying but I couldn’t stop. I wrote him a goodbye email and tried to sleep, managing four fitful hours of rest.

The next day – yesterday – he started texting me in an apparent fit of regret. He’d left things “in a not good way,” he said. He wanted to talk. I told him I didn’t want to, not yet. He said he missed me and he loved me. He sent me a message to wish me good night.

This morning he suggested we go for a walk this afternoon. (No thanks, not interested in crying out in public.) He sent me a long, heartfelt email apologizing for all the wrongs he’s done, how he’s seen the error of his ways, that NOW he’s ready to be fully committed to the relationship. He’s learned all of this, it seems, in the day since he walked out of my house.

He’s coming over to talk and I am not sure what to do. No, that’s incorrect – I know what I should do, but I hope I’m strong enough to do it. This isn’t the future I imagined for myself and my kids after my divorce – I didn’t hope or want to be in another stressful relationship, I didn’t look forward to spending time with someone who wasn’t emotionally available to me or who couldn’t let go of his past.

I loved this man – and I probably still do. But I think we need time apart. Instead of acting on a knee-jerk reaction to the reality of losing me and telling me what he thinks I want to hear, he needs to spend time looking inward and asking himself if he’s truly capable of loving someone else when he can’t stop hating another.

He doesn’t even see it. He is so used to the bitterness and the struggle and the chaos that he doesn’t understand that this is not how everyone else lives. He hasn’t realized how his anger at his ex is destroying his relationships with me and his children. The only person NOT hurt by his anger, ironically, is his ex.

I only cried once today. I think the magnitude of the breakup will hit me on the nights I’d normally spend with him but will instead spend alone. My girlfriends will probably be barraged with my invitations to go out to dinner and happy hours just so that I am not faced with wallowing in solitude 15 nights a month, when my children are with their dad.

I survived a divorce; I can survive this. The hard part is not in facing being alone, but in standing up for myself when I know a relationship has been doing little else than hurt me for months. Promises and words of love are great, but mean much less when the actions are damaging.

Now, if you will excuse me, I haven’t quite polished of that Easter candy yet.

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12 thoughts on “The Breakup

  1. Best of luck with your conversation. I recently had to do the same thing with my ex-boyfriend and it was the hardest thing in the world to stand up for myself and realizing I would be letting go of someone I love. Stay strong and do something your future self will thank you for.

  2. Oh Lord, it is eerie how similar our paths have been! I am so, so sorry to hear of your breakup. It sounds like you 100% did the right thing. Quite beside the ex anger (itself a deal breaker, no question), that negative treatment of you is 100% NOPE NOPE NOPE. Good for you for standing up for yourself! And for having the strength to see his Hail Mary efforts for the transparent grasping they are.

    I broke off my relationship recently, too. Exes were also involved. In my case he wasn’t treating me badly at all (so see? this is enough to break up); he just didn’t seem to be prioritizing me. Sadly, his ex came first, and I realized that would always be the case. I have zero interest in playing second fiddle, so I bowed out.

    So yeah, I know it sucks; it really, really does. But there are other fish in the sea; and for that matter, we’ve already learned we can live alone and be happy. Hang in there!

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head that he is addicted to drama and knows no other way. I really think life is too short for you to feel obligated to be the one to teach him. You deserve a real adult. You do. You deserve it. Sure, nobody is perfect, but someone can at least meet you half way. You’ve worked too hard and too long to make this work, and it shouldn’t be such hard work. All relationships take work, but not THIS much.

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  5. Damn. I am so behind on reading!! I’m so so sorry you went through this. His behavior sounds unstable to me…and never, ever is it okay to be treated poorly (calling you names? Making unkind comments about photos??). We hear a lot about letting go and moving on post-divorce and whenever I hear a story like this, it makes me take a step back and look at my own behavior.

    Although I don’t “know” you, you come across and a wonderful and fun and loving person. You deserve the same in a lovah.

    • Awww, thank you! In some ways, I thought I’d learned so much about myself through my divorce, and then I was a bit blindsided by how I returned to a relationship that wasn’t healthy in the end and stayed longer than I should have. I guess, on the positive side, I made my exit more quickly this time around!

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