I would like to thank everybody who reached out to me after my last post, especially to the two men who told me about their own experiences, thank you for that. I'm back now and those feelings are buried where they belong.
|On the Mooooooooooon,|
I also got a chance to talk to three of my exes, and it was interesting to see how they responded to it. I was with each of these women for at least two years....
The first ex started a conversation with me via text, genuinely concerned about my well being, making sure I was in a good place, and saying a lot of nice things about myself (She once again thanked me for being so wonderful to her while we were still together and apologized for not treating me as well). She's a happy mother and wife now; she met the guy only a few weeks after we split up, but I was never sore about it. Life is funny like that sometimes. She has normal life struggles and a cute family. I like her husband, and even gave him a guitar once.
The second ex wrote me a long email, not wanting to interfere with my life (she goes on adventures into other countries like a bad-ass, but we always seem to get back into touch). We had a very heartfelt conversation (where she also thanked me for treating her so fantastically), but she also wanted to make sure that I was doing well and was genuinely concerned about me. She's always one of my favorite people.
The third ex, however, decided to take a different route. Her entire text was, 'Well written. Would have been useful information to know before we got together.'. Now my reply, 'I didn't know this was about you.' made her call and explain that she didn't mean to sound incredibly self-absorbed and selfish, she just isn't good with words. I never found out if her text meant she would have erased our entire lives together if she knew I had trust issues (a weird thing for a rape victim to tell somebody), or if she would have attempted to overcome them. Considering her lack of empathy towards me most of the time we were together, I know which one I think it is, but I'm sure she'll let me know after she reads this. I don't know if we're capable of ever being friends again.
But I didn't write this to make one of exes look bad. Ex3 is a pretty cool chick like 93% of the time. I wrote this to talk about my favorite part of the relationship, the beginning.....
I met these women in three very different ways (School, Myspace, Drinking on a Monday afternoon), and all of them ended very differently (Leaving me after she met somebody else, Failed marriage, aborted pregnancy after we split up), but some of the feelings towards the beginning were very similar.
New relationships are about discovery and hope, watching parts of yourself long dormant awaken to new possibilities, and lots of intense sex. You find yourself looking for similarities, trying to connect with this person on every level possible. Conversations run long into the night, your eating habits get thrown off, and your entire brain starts to rewire itself because of this one thing. You start to bore your friends, the ones who don't get jealous, and you might even fall of the face off the earth entirely if you don't know how to keep balance in your life.
Despite the massive difference in the ways these three relationships started and ended, the intensity of the first few months, that elusive honeymoon period, helped to keep the relationships afloat for quite a while. Incidentally, Ex1 and Ex2 both had pretty nasty endings. Ex2 was already sleeping with her next boyfriend before I even moved out, and I think I broke up with Ex1 about six times before it finally stuck (I actually told her the last time we got together that I was only doing it so that I could be mean enough to her for her to figure out for herself that we would never, ever work out. It didn't take very long after that). Ex3 made some interesting choices before we split up, but her complete disregard for my feelings certainly helped me run out the door. In each of these scenarios I specifically remember the immense river of emotions and happiness that comprised our early relationship. I have vivid memories of colors being brighter and everything we did together meant something, like it was fated.
Listen, I'm an Atheist and I love me some Science. I know that it's all chemicals and psychology, but when did that ever make drugs less interesting?
And here's the thing. I know that the Honeymoon phase can last. I've seen people recreate those emotions with someone over and over again, each time after it drifts away they keep finding new and creative ways to bring it back. We're all human and full of faults, some more than others granted, but everybody loves being there, so why is this illusion so difficult to maintain?
I remember the exact moment it shattered when I was with Ex1 because she commented on it as it happened. We were driving towards a bank in east Boise and I said something mean and cranky in a sarcastic reply to something. "That's it", she said. "That was the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end, if that's how you want to look at it." I denied it of course, I imagine myself pouting here as I valiantly try to defend the best phase of our relationship. But even as I struggled to defend that Straw Man Ambush, a little itch in the back of my skull told me she was right. And she was right, I already had enough resentment built up inside of me for the bile to start spilling out of my big, stupid mouth. And once that resentment gets entrenched, there's always a film of it resting somewhere and it's hard to get back to where everything looks fresh and new again.
Ex1 was right and it only got worse from there. I put up with some behaviors that were completely unacceptable to me for quite a while. As the issue grew progressively worse the intensity of that conflict erupted into several large arguments, almost always ending with a new profession of heartfelt emotion and a promise of things to change. But promises are easily broken and eventually there was just too much burning resentment inside of me for it to ever work out between us. We wanted it to, but it just wasn't possible anymore.
And here is where I think some of my own problems might lie. Maybe the problem isn't that people do things that build resentment, maybe the issue is learning how to get rid of it once it's there and learning how to live with what's left. I can't imagine that in the 300 years my Grandparents have been together that they haven't had long periods of disconnection. But somehow they just continued to keep choosing to be with each other and to make it work. Part of it's the culture, they aren't called the Greatest Generation for nothing, but there's no reason why you couldn't do it today.
But it's hard. It's very hard. Couples self destruct around me all the time. Eventually you learn to see the signs, but sometimes things erupt very slowly. When my last ex and I split, we hadn't been fighting much at all. Sure we were stressed, but we almost never fought about anything, and we were almost never that mean to each other. At some point we just decided we didn't want to be together anymore and we let the emotions slowly tear it apart until it was gone.We didn't even really fight at the end. It was cold, like the Mooooooooooooooon.
|Time to pick a new direction.|
And this is the end of Being Single. I've got other things I want to rant about, and this whole 'introspectively looking at the past thing' takes a lot out of a fella.