Editor’s note: In case you missed them, catch up on Nikki’s previous Dating Diaries posts here.
Everyone likes to think that they’re nice, normal people who would never say and do the things that jerks, psychos and reality TV stars say and do. I, for example, think that I am very nice and have reasonable relationship expectations and manageable emotions. But this week, I came frighteningly close to the edge.
Every night, I have been lying awake with this unshakeable rage towards my ex-boyfriend that I can’t figure out how to get rid of. I wanted to be that girl who goes onto Facebook and proclaims to the entire world how no girl should ever date him, and no one should ever trust him. I wanted to destroy my ex-boyfriend’s car with a baseball bat, except he doesn’t love his car enough so I wanted to destroy his Townes Van Zandt painting instead. I wanted him to rack his nutsack on his Townes Van Zandt painting, thus bringing injury to his two most prized possessions.
Because you see, I slept with him again. Not just once — I have been sleeping with him secretly for about two months. It all started when I moved out of my old apartment and was overcome with melancholy over the memories. So I reached out to him and we spent my last night there together. And then I saw him again the next week. And the week after that. We would make plans in advance, get lunch or go to a bar and then he’d spend the night. Sometimes he would say that he cared about me and that he was glad he got to spend time with me. It was like fake dating and I was well aware that it was not real dating. We were both keeping an emotional distance and at least I knew that it was a very bad idea. But I thought we could have fun, and I could at least have great sex while I figured out my next move, hopefully forward. That was true for a while.
I just didn’t expect him to break up with me via email in the middle of my workday, causing me to hide my weeping behind my computer. You know, because we had dated on and off for over a year and he had told me he loved me before and you just expect that someone in that position would at least break up with you in person. And we had actually made plans to “talk” that night, a talk that I thought had nothing to do with breakups and only productive, pleasant things, which he had to cancel for a family reason. That was fine, except that he was going to reschedule for three days later and I thought he should probably prioritize me and our relationship, so I said I would prefer to meet sooner. He had a poker game on Saturday though, so I guess instead of missing that he chose to break up with me by email.
In it, he wrote, “I just think it reaches a point where it can’t keep going on as a halfway deal, no matter how much you work on it.” Duh. Except that he never worked on it and there has literally never been a time when I tried to express feelings of disappointment or sadness about our relationship that he didn’t just up and dump me after making it seem like I assailed his character. When I responded to his email with an, “I can’t believe you just broke up with me by email” and also called him some profane words, he made fun of me by answering, “Well do you want to meet up and talk in person/tell me what a piece of sh*t I am? Because I would miss my poker game for that.”
I hate him. I hate him so much. Please don’t tell me I was asking for this, because I know. I knew it wasn’t going to lead anywhere good, and so did he even if he has the nerve to pretend like it just dawned on him, but what are you supposed to do when you love someone and you’re afraid you’ll never love someone as much as him? I guess when I was sitting there waiting to be ready to end things, I should have known that you’re never really ready and that you just have to make the jump. Since I didn’t, he did it for me. Part of my rage comes from wounded pride. I just can’t believe that after he strung me along, and told me that he cared while treating me like I didn’t matter—and I fell for it—he was the one to end things.
It’s hard for me to think of this cruel person who withheld emotional and mental intimacy, who broke up with me at the slightest tremor and chose a poker game over ending this relationship with dignity as the same man who told me he loved me and held me at night and is considerate towards his friends. I can’t understand why he told me he cared about me so much when his actions so clearly said otherwise. For a long time I did think he cared but had a lot of “problems” with maturity and intimacy that prevented him from expressing it.
With everyone other than him apparently, I have always thought that if you care about someone, being considerate and generous comes easily. You show your feelings through actions naturally, and if he’s not acting like he loves you then he doesn’t. But he said he did and I wanted to believe it so I stuck around. Was he lying to me? Does he not understand what caring for someone actually means? Where is the disparity coming from?
While they were breaking up with me, my last two boyfriends both said they wished they had treated me better. I can’t understand how they could say they wanted to treat me better but never did. And what does it say about me that my boyfriends wish this? That my behavior enables them to treat me badly? Probably. For now, at least my anger is keeping me from missing my ex, and that is victory enough. You know, since I can’t actually make him feel physical pain, I have to settle for moving on.