It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
There I was, awake in bed quite alone, fuming over an argument that had happened days ago. There had been an apology, but it had been over a twitter direct message and it wasn’t even an apology for what had actually been done. For three days we danced around making arrangements to have dinner, get a cocktail, maybe see a movie. When we did finally see each other, I couldn’t stand being around him; I wanted to punch him in his square face. As I started to leave, that’s when he decided it was a good idea to try and perhaps make an attempt at kissing me. I went home, grabbed a beer and a book, and read in bed. Sleep didn’t come that night, despite having to have an early morning for work. When I called him after work, still so angry with him that I spent the day texting my friend to get me hyped enough to end it, I asked him how he wanted to do this. His reply was that he really had no time for me, so it was best done over the phone. He was dismayed and hurt when I ended it.
If takes two to tango, it only takes one to end things. Relationships require the love, affection and effort of both parties. If one isn’t willing to show affection, put forth effort and sacrifice, than no matter how hard the other works, it’s just not going to work out. The best break-ups I’ve had have been discussions about the state of things. The worst have been when a decision was made without a discussion or without even telling me things were over, a person vanished into the ether.
A few years ago I started seeing a guy who I really liked and he really liked me back. Unfortunately our schedules didn’t match up at all – he had a job that required him to work nights while I worked days and that wasn’t when I had charity events to organize or he had something. We met over coffee and decided that while we were good friends, it just wasn’t going to work. We were essentially wasting each other’s time. Over the years we’ve remained in contact and in fact often hung out; we’ve shared a bed in an entirely non-sexual sort of way. The friendship has never once seemed weird. Another partner and I met for a nice hike and discussed how while we were both great people, we just weren’t looking for the same thing. I liked going out and meeting up with friends and being involved in the community while he was overwhelmed with life decisions and school. It’s not strange to meet up for coffee every so often.
So many of my break-ups have been conversations. The idea of being dumped, for lack of a better term, seemed foreign. But I have been left, discarded, even betrayed and scorned. It’s jarring because for so much of my dating experience, it’s always been a friendly cup of coffee, a great discussion, and a hug and kiss on the cheek with the promise to meet up. I don’t know if I should be proud of this, but most of my ex’s are also my friends. I think that means that we’re great people… that just don’t work that way together. There are however, two men who do not speak to me. The common denominator is that I made a decision without a discussion to end things. Both relationships were toxic. The first was emotionally, verbally and becoming physically abusive. The second was becoming emotionally abusive. I knew the signs from my first experience. And I ended both; I had to.
Perhaps it’s true and that breaking up is hard to do. But I have learned a lot about myself from my break ups because, for the most part, they’ve been frank discussions about why things didn’t work. And well, not to brag, but I tend to date amazing people who I want in my life in any capacity. As an ex and a friend said to me earlier this week, “I don’t think mean things about you.” What he meant to say was that, even a country away, he still cared about me and thought fondly of our time together. We were, after everything, still friends.