Julie’s Guide to Healing From a Heartbreak.
Going through a breakup, huh? I’m sorry, because I have most definitely been there. As you can read through previous posts, I went through a pretty traumatic break up and made it through it. You can, too. I promise.
I want to make something CRYSTAL clear first! I would never, never tell anyone what they should NOT do in this type of situation. You will probably do something unhealthy or stupid in this phase. I won’t judge you for it. All I can do is tell you what worked for ME. So here it is: Julie’s Guide to Healing From a Heartbreak.
Step 1: Indulge the pain.
Eat some ice cream. Wear sweatpants. Hide under your comforter and cuddle with your cat. Take a day or two off of work. And cry, cry, cry. Watch Sex and the City. Call your mom and friends.
Step 2: Pamper (make yourself look hot).
As a consequence of Step 1, you may have put on a pound or two. (I was the opposite, I stopped eating until I dropped 15% of my weight and my hair started to fall out). Either way, if you look like shit, you’re going to feel even worse about yourself and the whole situation. Here’s where working out comes in handy. You look like shit and you’re an emotional roller coaster. Take all of that emotional energy and work it out! Transfer the want to cry into running on a treadmill. Someday soon, you will want to start dating again. Think about all the new hot people you can date. Think about running over your ex’s face a million times. Take that asshole! For me, I couldn’t have gotten through the healing process without yoga and meditation.
Then go to a salon and get your hair cut/colored. Get your nails done. Get waxed. Get ready.
Step 3: Party like it’s 1999.
I went out and partied. My God, did I party. I couldn’t bear the thought of being home by myself. Be careful with your alcohol intake here. You owe yourself a couple of sloppy nights, but let’s not give yourself something else to feel bad about.
Step 4: Forgive yourself for whatever stupid shit you did between Steps 1 through 3.
Step 5: Get your shit together.
I was always spot on when it came to paying all of my bills. I had this schedule that I would follow- pay a,b, and c the first half of the month and x,y, and z the second half. When my relationship ended, so did that. Shit got paid when it got paid. So take a breath and look around and see what you can clean up. Make sure you’re performing as you should be at your job. Here I am a year and a half later and the other day I looked at my filing cabinet and realized that after all of this time, it was still a mess and that I really need to finally go through the stack that developed while I was nursing my wounds.
Step 6: See a therapist.
You don’t have to see this person forever if you don’t want to. Maybe it’s just for two months. It might depend on how long the relationship was, if there was legal stuff to work through (divorce), children involved, how bad the betrayal was, etc. I couldn’t shut the hell up during my recovery. All I could talk about was my ex. My poor mother listened to hours and hours of me verbally working through the littlest sentence my ex said or me ripping apart an incident in the past. Give your friends and family a break. The last thing they want to do is hurt you but they are tired of listening to you talk about your break up!! A neutral third party can help you to see what is really happening and help you to work through it.
Step 7: Work On You.
This can mean different things to everyone. For me it meant building out a network of friends. Discovering hobbies. Getting back to what made me, me.
Step 8: Have an Adventure.
I was sad. I wanted to feel happy. Short of doing drugs, this is the best method for getting away mentally for a bit from your problems. It made me feel alive at a time when I felt dead inside. It also really helped boost my self esteem because I felt like I woke up from a coma and I had missed out on life. Doing new stuff made me feel alive and exciting. Some of the adventures I went experienced include:
Zip lining in Asheville, NC
Partied for the first time in Las Vegas
Dancing on stage with Prince
Skydiving for my birthday
San Diego Comic Con (first time in SD and I slept in my car)
Step 9: Give Yourself Some Credit
I recently discovered the TV show Intervention and was so drawn in. I couldn’t believe how these people were just willing to throw their lives away. And they had all of these people around them who loved them. One night I watched two episodes in a row and both of them focused on women who turned to drugs/alcohol after they lost their significant other. It shocked me and made me realize that I could have let myself fall apart. I could have just given up. I felt really silly about being proud of myself. But dude! I didn’t let this ruin me. In fact, I’m happier than I have ever been. And you can be, too.
The Best Part About Endings Is Beginnings
It’s been quite awhile since I have written anything. I really needed some time to keep to myself while I tried to figure out what my new ‘normal’ feels like. Also, I started seeing someone and I honestly wasn’t sure what to write about. I didn’t want to mess anything up with him. But I’m now ready to update you all on my life. There’s also a few nuggets of wisdom I wish to impart upon you guys on the topic of break-ups, getting back on your feet and how to make sure you are actually living life and not just going through the motions.
This unwed bride has a boyfriend.
I still can’t get over it. Just saying that line, “I have a boyfriend” is just…soo I don’t even know. Clearly, I’m not used to the whole concept yet. It’s nice though.
Me and this dude met through the lovely Misti Dawn on her birthday back in February. The way we met is pretty funny. We were both at Misti’s birthday party at Bar Sinister in Hollyhood and I don’t remember seeing him. At all. I vaguely remember seeing him in the parking lot when we all were figuring out who was riding with who back to Misti’s place. It wasn’t until we were literally outside of her door that I noticed him and introduced myself. We started off with where are you from and the usual pleasantries. When I found out that he is from Indiana, I laughed inside. The cute, musician I had been dating since November had dropped off of my radar two weeks prior is also from Indiana. (For whatever reason I know a ton of people out in LA not just from Indiana but that attended college at Indiana University, so many that it’s officially weird.) So logically my next question was to ask him if he went to IU.
"Yes, you did?" I think I asked him his age. And then, a shot in the dark, "Do you know XXXX XXXXX (fill in with musician I had been dating that totally broke my heart)?"
He said yes and I was completely in shock. No matter how big LA actually is, so often it feels like the smallest city ever to me.
And then, more shock as he said, “Yeah, we were in a band together in college.”
NO. FREAKIN. WAY.
The story gets crazier. Not only did my future boyfriend know musician dude and not only were they in a band together but…
"After I broke up with my girlfriend, he started dating her."
So…they dated the same chick.
As he and I are talking I get the sense that he doesn’t have the best opinion of musician dude. He checks facebook and realizes that they aren’t friends on there and then wonders if they ever were and if the musician deleted him. He makes a comment that, of course, all of their mutual friends are just girls. He says he doesn’t hate him or anything but he always struck him as someone who had it easy. Being in my position, as someone who unknowingly a week later would be getting a Dear John phone call from the musician, but could already tell he was over it (and by it I mean me), it was nice to hear someone not have the best opinion of him.
We spoke about what instruments we played in band (me, the oboe for concert and flute and mellophone for marching. Him, the trumpet). The conversation flowed very easily between us.
The next day I got a text from Misti letting me know that he asked for my info. He didn’t take very long to text me and ask me if I wanted to hang out. I jokingly asked him if this was a plot a decade in the making to get back at musician dude. A few days later I got tickets to see The Roots and decided to invite him along. He picked me up and opened the car door for me (to this day I’ve only opened my own car door a handful of times). We spent so much time talking that we missed a good chunk of the show. We talked about everything, including our exes! He also just went through a broken engagement so unlike musician dude, who had no concept of what I’ve been through, this guy understood.
Our second date was a lot of fun; we went to see The Harlem Globetrotters, which was underwhelming because I think they should still all have afros, but we still had fun. At dinner he told me that he thought of these two times we spent together as hangouts, not dates. I was kinda embarrassed, I told him I thought they were dates. I believe it was decided that they officially were dates by the end of that night when we kissed in his car when he dropped me off. I was so worried he would be a bad kisser, many people are, but he wasn’t.
Three months later on Cinco de Mayo we decided to become exclusive. I was really scared but he is SUCH A GREAT, KIND PERSON that I knew this gamble would be in my favor. At first it was weird to have a boyfriend that wasn’t my ex, but now it feels great to have a boyfriend that isn’t my ex. This guy is so smart, talented and compassionate that he makes moving on easy.
Last Week (I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends)
When we first flipped the calendar page to March, I got worried. I knew it was coming. I didn’t know how I would feel.
On Tuesday, March 20, came the anniversary of the wedding that never was. I had a lot of thoughts in my head that day about the whole event. (Seriously, no one should ever have to return a wedding dress!) But something about those thoughts really surprised me. They weren’t nearly as sad as I had been anticipating.
I actually didn’t sit at my desk and think about myself in The Florida Keys, I didn’t picture myself in my wedding dress or think about the party afterwards. Yes, of course it was a sad day, but what I actually thought about was my friends.
I thought about my friends and how grateful I am for all of them to be in my life. How they took care of me when I needed to be cared for most. One of my co-workers, Erica, let me spend half of March on her couch, which I will be eternally grateful for. She listened to me go on and on about my ex. She helped me to feel as though I wasn’t alone. She lent me Eat, Pray, Love - the quintessential what do you do after your life falls apart book.
That friend and a couple of others, two that I had just met earlier in the month and are still good friends with to this day, got in our cars and drove out to Las Vegas to help distract me from the wedding that never was.
That Vegas trip was one of the best things I did for myself. It was my first time ever in Vegas. The four of us ended up meeting up with a bunch of coworkers that also happened to be in Vegas that weekend and we had ourselves a blast. I learned how to play Black Jack. I also fell in love with playing Black Jack. We partied in the Foundation Room at House of Blues and as I stared off at the spectacular view, I was scared but excited. I flirted and danced with some random dude that night for the first time in 8 years.
When the actual day came, I was heartbroken. And when 3:15pm PT came, the actual time we were supposed to be wed, I was crying. Erica layed down on my bed next to me and put her arms around me as I cried. Both of my parents called me to check on me that day.
Her and I went to a show that night and I was so grateful to not have to be alone and to be distracted. On the way back to LA we made sure to stop at Red Lobster (so wondrously tacky!) to eat some seafood and cheddar bay biscuits. The whole trip was so much fun!
I was so busy working last Tuesday that I forgot to get sad at 3:15pm PT. I didn’t realize I had missed it until 3 hours later. And even then, I didn’t get sad, I just reflected on how different my life is now and how amazing all of the people in my life are.
It wasn’t easy, but due to being in sink or swim mode I turned off my social anxiety in order to survive. My life is so fulfilling now because I have so many wonderful people in it. And as the months have turned into a year, it’s those friends and all of the new ones I have made that make my life what it is - great!
Not So Jazzed To Meet You
It finally happened y’all. A bad date. I’ve had such good luck with all of the dates I have been on. The guys have either been super attractive or successful or both. In an effort to get everything out of my system so that when I do get into a relationship, I’m ready, I thought I would do something funny/bad/irresponsible: go out on a date with a 24 year old.
First up, lemme talk about the site where I met this little darling, Jazzed. Back in October, Jen and I went to a promo party for this site which is cross promoted with the CBS TV show Excused. Now, I admit, this is genius marketing. A dating show attached to a dating site. Except for the fact that Jazzed, welllll, kinda sucks. I was suckered into downloading the iPhone app in order to receive a free pair of day-glow colored sun glasses. So as they plotted, since I already had the app on my phone, I went ahead and filled out my profile.
You are allowed to add numerous pictures of yourself, then there is a free form “About me and what I’m looking for” section, a “Tell Julie about you” section” where you select questions you would like people to answer, “In My own words” with the sub headers “What are your favorite TV shows?”, “What are your favorite movies?”, “what 3 words describe your perfect mate?”, “Where did you grow up?”, and “What drives you crazy?”. Then there’s a general details section just like on OK Cupid. The Jazzed approach makes it easier to fill out your profile, which makes it easily more generic.
Aside from the lack of quality guys that I’ve seen on here and the fact that you have to pay for it (I guess I got grandfathered in because I’ve never paid a cent), my least favorite thing about Jazzed is the cop outs it lets people take when contacting someone they are interested in. Instead of having to write to the other person, you can opt to send them a pre-written one sentence Ice breaker such as “Your profile got my attention…let’s chat!” or “Your profile brought a smile to my face!” or even worse “Wink!”. Lamesauce. It’s like poking someone on facebook or even choosing someone on OKC. Another way to avoid actually writing to someone is to “like” a particular part of their profile or “nudge” them. The only things in my Jazzed inbox I ever looked at were messages.
So, a lot of what I have received has been ummm, let’s just say not good. But this message caught my eye:
"Wow, Julie, you are the coolest. SUCH great taste, crazy gorgeous, and I could tell at a glance that you’re a fun, positive person. I only wish I were a few years older."
I realized I had my age range set to 25-35 and that this dude was 24. Cute with bright blue eyes. But 24! So I didn’t write him back. Two weeks later I got another message from him:
"You’re still my favorite"
And then a third one!
"I’ve all but given up…but would still love to talk."
Okay, okay. His persistence actually had me intrigued. We sent some emails back and forth in December and then I forgot all about it and him. Then the other week, he wrote to me. I decided why the hell not? and gave him my number. I’ve done some pretty irresponsible things in the last couple of months, so I’ll just pile this on top. I had no intention of ever seriously dating a 24 year old. We start texting and just like through the Jazzed emails he comes across as confidant and fun. It turned out he was well versed in the nerd universe, a big plus! He then invited me to go see a comedy/music performance for Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die with appearances by Paul Scheer, Jenny Slate and Sarah Silverman. Score! I love live shows.
so, here we go.
The very first inkling of the issues to come was from one of the text messages I received before the start of the date.
"The show is at 8:30, btw. Meet there around 8? I’m two months from having a car down here, or I’d pick you up."
I’m okay with this because I don’t want a first date to see where I live anyways. Now, not having a car is not necessarily a deal breaker, but I just dated a guy for two months that didn’t have a car and it was kinda annoying.
So I get there (The Largo at the Coronet) and due to my unfounded paranoia that I will not recognize the person I am supposed to be meeting I go back into the Jazzed app and look at his profile again. Wait a minute…wait just a minute…does he have a lazy eye? (Lordy lord, I’m sooo sorry that this will most certainly offend someone out there reading this) In his profile picture he’s looking straight at you! Great, now I’m going to be attempting to not stare at this person’s lazy eye.
I get into the place and text him. He walks out (and I recognize him right away of course!) and we both go in for The Confident Hug. We sit down at a table since the performance hall isn’t open yet. He sits at an angle in an attempt to hide the eye. He’s cute. Black rimmed glasses, cool blazer, good facial hair.
Conversation time. Here’s where the awkward begins. In person, this guy is nothing like he is through emails/text. I’m guessing the lazy eye thing has a severe affect on his confidence. I ask him what he does for a living. I find out that he’s unemployed. But! He does make money as a magician. As visions of GOB prancing onstage run through my head I somehow maintain a poker face of fake, pleasant interest and ask about The Magic castle. I ask him what part of town he lives in. He tells me and I then realize that it is different from what it says on his Jazzed profile. I ask him about this and learn that he has been staying at friend/family’s houses. Meaning: he’s homeless.
We go into the theater and continue to talk. I do the bulk of the work here, continuously finding new topics to discuss. He looks (pretty much) straight forward the whole time he talks to me while we’re in the theater. Again, something that I am sure is a by-product of the lazy eye, but still hard to deal with on my end. The show is great! So, at least that part of the date is solid.
Afterwards, as we’re walking out I suggest we go next door to the Roger Room and grab a drink. He gets an embarrassed look on his face and confesses that he doesn’t have his ID. At this point I’m wondering if he’s actually 24. Dear God, what if he’s 20?! He says he lost it and that since he hasn’t been driving in the short amount of time that he’s been in LA it hasn’t been an issue. He says I should know of some places we can go where he won’t get carded because this is my hood. No dude, I don’t commonly categorize bars in my head by cards/doesn’t card since I am a 29 year old woman and the majority of my friends are in their mid to upper twenties.
Not drinking isn’t the biggest deal to me, I suggest walking over to Coffee Bean and he makes a comment about the date getting downgraded. Sheesh buddy, YOU forgot YOUR ID, be a good sport, make the best of things, like I am trying to do. We walk up the street looking for options, places we could potentially get a drink without being IDed (this is freaking impossible, BTW, he’s actually 24 and looks 20 and I’m 29 and look 24 - we’re getting IDed). After not finding anything, we start walking towards Coffee Bean. I still feel like I am carrying the conversation the whole way.
We get to Coffee Bean and I order a drink, he finally decides he doesn’t want anything. He then attempts to pay the whole $3.25 for my coffee. HIS.CARD.GETS.DECLINED. He was beyond embarrassed. At this point, the date was all a big joke to me so I didn’t even bat an eye. I try not to react, I’m not about to do anything to make this dude feel worse. He gets a water and we go and sit outside. Again, the whole time we are sitting out here and talking he is not looking at me, but looking straight ahead. That makes me more uncomfortable than anything else.
After laughing at this lady that is actually wiping both of her sweatered Pomeranian’s asses outside of Coffee Bean (have some damn children already lady!!) we walk back to my car.
I give him a hug goodbye and then ask how he is getting home. He tells me his is going to walk to the Metro station to get to the other side of the hill. That’s almost 4 miles away from where we are. In my head I let out a huge sigh and outloud I tell him to get in my car, I’m not going to let him walk that far. I drop him off at The Metro and I drive off, literally laughing my ass off at what just happened. “That’s what you get Julie, that’s what you get. A 24 year old… What was I thinking?”
He texted me a few days later and I did my normal bitch move of simply not responding. Then he texted me on Saturday “Hey Julie, I get if you weren’t feeling it (I was for the record, and think you’re incredibly cool, funny, sexy)…” I felt bad and answered, I figured I am supposed to be the more mature one, I should act it. I wanted to tell him “Really, you were feeling it? Because I couldn’t tell, you seemed completely uninterested the whole time”. I’m going to chalk this up to youth, inexperience and thus, nerves. Instead I responded and told him “I had a fun time last week, I just recognize that you and I are in different places in life”. I then let him know he was now friend-zoned. He was bummed but seemed to handle it okay. At least his text responses were mature.
You earned a point there, kid.
Then he was really bummed that I wouldn’t be going to this event with him this week and that he had to pull strings to get a plus one. I told him I would go with him but he would have to be okay with us just going as friends. I think he was bummed, but he agreed. We went and saw a screening of Signs “interrupted” by Doug Benson! Ed Helms was one of his guests. I just so happen to have a death wish for M. Night Shamalongadingdong (especially after he shat on my favorite show ever Avatar: The Last Airbender) so it was hilarious to watch them rip apart the movie! Then then was an intermission before the viewing of Ed Helms’ new movie Jeff, Who Lives At Home (which was freakin great!). While me and 24 were hanging outside drinking beer we smoked a joint with Doug Benson! YES! Then he showed me a magic trick. He was really good (plus, I was really stoned). We had some awkward social moments that were exacerbated by the pot and ended with us both laughing. Like when he left his bag under his seat after the first movie and we realized that people weren’t keeping their old seats for the second feature. He didn’t want to walk past everyone in the aisle and get it. I shrugged and got it for him. I playfully gave him a hard time to get him to laugh at himself. I grew up being incredibly awkward, so I get it. It’s kinda endearing, but definitely not something I want to date. I again drove him to the Metro and honestly thanked him for a great night. As I drove away, I wished I knew some cute 20 year old to hook him up with. I would love to be his wing girl.
So I turned an awkward first date into an awkward friendship. I’m okay with how it all went down. It all adds up to living life and gives me a funny story to tell.
And I will be deleting the Jazzed app off of my phone. Because I’m just not.
Doc, Can you help me?
People say that it makes you a stronger person to actually admit that you need help and to ask for it. When you’re that person and you’re the one that has to admit that you need help, you understand this but it doesn’t make it any easier to say, “Yeah, life got so hard that I had to start seeing someone”.
I decided last year that I owed it to myself and to my family and friends to try everything that I could to resolve my emotions surrounding this breakup and my new life.
I’m a very private person IRL (err, I used to be!). Or rather, I don’t talk about myself a lot in social situations. If you ask me a question I have no problem answering it but it’s just not in my personality to go on and on about what I did last weekend or whatev. That said, when my whole life got turned upside down, I could not, would not shut up!! I was telling people about my breakup when previously I probably hadn’t even talked to them about the actual relationship prior to the breakup. To the point where once I got a handle on things I was super embarrassed. Some of my co-workers just did not need to know certain details. Ugh, oh well, I’m not hard on myself for this. My life was crumbling and so was I. Other friends heard it all. Every. single. detail. They also had to counsel me through every decision and guide me through the pain. They also had to endure the way I was so hopeful that we would figure out a way to make it work.
My mom had it the worst of all. I love this woman so much. So, so, very much. From November 1, 2010 to maybe some time in June 2011? I called her every day. No really, everyday. I honestly don’t think she minded because I’m sure it allows her to still feel needed and moms with empty nests love that but it couldn’t of been easy for her to listen to me go on and on and on about my problems.
That said, I realized that I couldn’t put this burden on the people that I loved anymore. The stress of a break up or divorce is so great that you can’t go through it without a support system, but even your support system may need a break.
I won’t soon forget being at Comic Con with my roommate and telling her about my decision to start therapy. I said the whole sentence at regular volume except for the word “therapy”. She smiled and said, “Julie, it’s okay that you’re going to go to..” and then she lowered her voice, poking fun at me “…therapy”. I laughed, knowing she right, that I was being silly.
Starting in August I began seeing a therapist. My initial thought? I wish I had done this sooner! I thought back to my wedding month, March and the month after he moved out, April. I was so distraught!
Still, the first couple of sessions I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. After a couple of sessions and explaining all of the back story of our relationship/breakup, I started wondering what the hell I was going to talk about each week. One particular week, nothing major had taken place that week and we ended up talking about my childhood, not that I don’t think many of my issues start there, but I didn’t see the point in paying money for that kind of discussion. But by 9/6, I had a 5 tissue day.
Meaning I actually finally let myself cry enough to go through 5 tissues. I had stopped crying in everyday life by that point. The sadness hadn’t stopped but I literally lost the ability to cry anymore. I had expelled so many tears in the past months that even when I wanted to cry, I couldn’t. Except for when I was in therapy. This marked the first time I really looked forward to going.
Since then, I really enjoy going each week. I’m lucky to have a really cool therapist that I dig on a personal level, too. Recovery isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Often, just when I think I have everything figured out, something happens that makes me grateful that I have him to go talk to. He mostly just talks me through stuff, only twice has he told me I should/shouldn’t do something. The first time, back in January, he told me that it was important for me to stay single for at least 6 more months (true! But hard to hear) and the second time he encouraged me to have a conversation with someone.
Having an unbiased person to listen can be super helpful. They don’t know your ex, your best friend, your parents, your anyone. They’re not friends with your ex or have a personal attachment to you that would change an opinion of a situation. They’re just there to be objective.
Also, if you are in a relationship where one party has cheated and you guys are trying to make things work, please, please go to couple’s counseling! I feel like there’s no way to work through all of the emotions without that unbiased person there to listen to you both.
Him and I also tackled another aspect of accepting help. I have suffered from depression my whole life and this breakup forced me to really get a handle on it. I didn’t want to live life sad anymore. I’m very scared of prescription drugs, but also very scared of always feeling blue, so I started taking an anti-depressant and I have a prescription for Xanax, though I rarely take it. The first time I held a box cutter to my wrist I was 10. 10! I was superly socially awkward at that age and couldn’t fit in with anyone. Admitting that I have to take an anti-depressant is a hard one for me, there are a lot of people who judge others for being on medication or who think if you can just figure your life out, you’ll be okay. But isn’t it better for me to get that shit under control than staring at the knives in my kitchen?
I think so.
If you are going through a hard time in your life or life just seems harder than it should be I seriously recommend doing something for yourself and at least giving it a shot.
It’s hard to ask for help. It’s harder not to.
How Soon Is Now?
This past week marked a major milestone in my life. One year ago I became single. It’s been one hell of a year: a year filled with relearning what normal feels like and having a lot of fun figuring it all out!
A big part of the healing process is putting yourself back out there. There are two meanings to that.
The first one is dating. That was scary as hell for me, all documented on Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover. I had no idea how to go on a first date or how to end things when I just wasn’t feeling it.
Then came the 2nd part of putting one’s self out there. The idea of actually committing to another person. A year of being single and this is still the most horrifying thought to me. I can’t even fathom being someone’s girlfriend right now. Yes, of course, there are many aspects of being in a relationship that are nice and that I miss; consistent sex is probably at the top of that list followed by snuggling, someone to go see movies with, someone who prevents me from being the 3rd or 5th wheel, etc. But missing aspects of being in a relationship is certainly no reason to be in a relationship.
All of this got me thinking. How soon after a getting out of a long term relationship should you get into another relationship?
I have two close friends that got out of very long term relationships a few months after I did and they are both already in new ones. At first, that made me think something was wrong with me, but now I’m so grateful to still be single. I met a guy in November that I fell pretty hard for and while I didn’t expect anything serious to come of it, it really made me take a step back and think about if I am ready for commitment in my life.
After I guess I discussed this person waaay too much with my therapist, he looked at me back in early January and said, “Julie, you need to be single for at least 6 more months”. That was the harshest thing he has ever said to me. It made me freak because while I didn’t want to jump into anything at the time, I’m also not the kind of person that runs away from love. I promptly got off of OKCupid, I figured I had enough going on in my romantic life.
Now, as I covered in my last post, that dude solved that problem for me because he ended things with me. In the long run, I think it’s okay that it went down like that because I knew from week 2 that while I was crazy about him, he was very wrong for me. However, that rejection did leave me with a broken heart, which has left me even more scared than I already was at giving my heart over to someone else.
I worry about my trust issues. I think I need to be alone for a bit longer because I’m not sure if I will be able to trust anyone. More than that, I am not sure that I can handle more hurt in my life at this point. I just want to be happy and if being alone ultimately means that I can avoid hurt for some time, sign me up!
I’m most hesitant to get into a relationship because I have a very hard time keeping my own life going. I easily start spending all of my free time with my significant other. After all of the hard work I’ve done in the past year, I don’t want to jeopardize my current life and friends for a guy.
Also, I’m boy crazy. When I was in my 7+ year relationship, I was so, so loyal. I never cheated, there were no close calls where I almost cheated and had to remove myself from a situation, I didn’t even have flirtatious relationships with male friends or co-workers. I had on freakin’ blinders. I never even looked or even considered other guys. Now, I look at all of them and on my ballsier nights, I look right at them and make eye contact. There are so many hot dudes out there. Now I understand why people are so hesitant to give up single life. Swoon!
I digress! The question is, how long does one wait to get into another relationship. I think most people would say that it’s different for everyone, which is a pretty vague answer. I think one really has to ask themselves a series of questions:
Are you okay being single?
Can you hang out by yourself and not freak out? Self soothe?
Are you really into this person or do you just not want to be alone?
Are you comfortable with who you are?
Are you looking for someone to complete you?
A lot of people tell me that when I meet “the right person” I will just know it and everything else will fall into place. I like the idea of that but I think I need to make sure I’m the best version of me first and then find someone to complement her.
Ode To My Rebound
So, in the midst of writing about the ending of my breakup, I had something great happen to me. I met a boy and I actually really liked him. I was super scared to write about him because I knew it would make him uncomfortable and I didn’t want to do something that would mess things up. Meeting him made me happy, scared, nervous, anxious, high on Cloud 9, excited. The point is, after everything that happened with my ex, I found out that I am capable of feeling. That my heart isn’t completely damaged.
But like I said, I was also really scared. Numerous people around me, including my therapist, all said that it was waaaay too soon for me to be getting involved with someone. So, well over a month ago I wrote this piece:
Where Am I Going From Here?
When you’re a serial monogamist being single is hard. Really hard. Actually, I was doing just fine with being single until I met someone that I actually liked and started dating. Then I wasn’t fine. We went to a concert together and stood there, arms around each other. “OMG!” I thought, “I forgot how awesome this is. I have missed having someone to hold so much!”. Other comforts were there, too. Waking up next to someone. There may be no greater joy in this world for me then waking up and looking over at someone and then snuggling up to them. That and I think morning sex is the best way to kick start your day. Even better than coffee.
That said, playing it cool may not be the serial monogamist’s forte when they get a taste of that relationship crack. I live by my heart, I fall hard. I have moved twice to be with someone (although FTR, I always make sure there is plenty of value in the move for me, too). Every bit of my brain knows that you energetically need to play it cool to keep someone interested in you. That the moment you get needy or really want them, they sense it and you aren’t as appealing anymore. Knowing this does not help my heart. It always wants more. I tell myself, girl, you’ve only been single for…well..officially since March..but kinda not really…so maybe since like August, so why are you already kinda getting serious with someone?
I’ve realized since I became single that I am a huge nurturer. That not having someone to take care of is fucking killing me. I’ve been living without my ex since March and I have cooked twice. I couldn’t handle the idea of cooking for just me. It seemed so sad. And for me cooking is an extension of the soul. I don’t want to put my sadness into my food. So it took me until the beginning of 2012, fucking 9 months later, to cook dinner just for myself.
So instead of dating more people, I’ve gone in the opposite direction. I’ve felt crazy for far too long, I just am not ready to be crazy again. Who am I kidding, it’s too late. But anyhow, I temporarily deactivated my OKCupid account. I am supposed to be focusing on me, right? What’s a normal amount of time to be single after getting out of a seven year relationship? Should I be fighting my feelings? Because my brain is screaming at me to not be involved with anyone, reminding myself of how I can do whatever the hell I want currently. I don’t have to check in with anyone.
Ohhhhh, but waking up next to you..
Well, unfortunately, he solved this dilemma for me.
Let me back up. I met him in November. After my roommate challenged me to go on 3 dates to get back into the saddle, I went on a fourth. I figured what the hey, I was already talking to him on OKCupid due to the whole 3 dates thing. Plus, he was super cute. And he liked Jeff Buckley and Cowboy Bebop. Dudes almost never like Jeff Buckley. We hit it off immediately. With previous guys if they even texted me too much after the date I would freak out. But I ended up hanging out with this guy the NEXT night. And I met some of his friends that night. Whoa. Less than a week later we had our third date. We hadn’t kissed yet and I was extremely nervous. At that point I still hadn’t kissed anyone since my ex fiance. He was really shy about it, it was super cute. When we finally did kiss, omg, I’ve never experienced something so wow before. We had a very epic make up session on the front patio of this bar and then we rushed back to my house. More epicness.
We spent two months together. It’s not that long but it’s long enough. There’s a Vampire Weekend song, “I Think You’re A Contra” and the opening line is “I had a feeling once that you and I/ Could tell each other everything for two months”. Back when I was in my very long term relationship I used to laugh at that. Two months? That’s nothing. Now I understand that the first two months can be an amazing, weird time.
So, two months. I didn’t even think about my ex. I even hoped that he had a girlfriend so that he could be happy. On our actual two month anniversary we hung out with a bunch of his friends, bar hopped and had a great night. Then right after two months I went to Vegas. He made actual effort to come over and see me the night before I was to leave. I would never have thought that would be the last time I would see him. But then he went to San Fran for a week and somewhere in that time, things changed for him. I tried to text him and hang out with him but I got blown off. After not seeing him for a month I assumed it was over. Then on Friday I got a phone call from him. I feel like an asshole because I got so excited when I saw his name on my phone. I feel like an asshole because he was calling me to tell me that he didn’t want to see me anymore. He said that while he was away something picked back up with someone who has been in his life for some time and he felt like he really needed to see it through. But he also said he really liked hanging out with me and that we were good together?? And that “maybe our paths will cross paths again in the future =)”. I don’t know what the fuck all of that is suppose to mean. No matter how much it fucking kills me, our paths will not cross in the future. You chose someone else over me! I am not going to accept 2nd place in your life.
All this mere days before my first ever as an adult sans valentine Valentine’s Day. Oh, and two weeks ago I found out that my ex has a girlfriend. Double blow to my heart.
I cannot help but feel like shit. Another man leaving me for another woman.
I find it very respectable that he had the balls to actually call me and tell me this. It’s so hard to do that. It was just so fucking hard actually hearing someone say that they do not want to be with me. I never thought things with him would last but I thought it would be because he would freak out over the idea of commitment (he hasn’t been in a serious anything in years). Or that he would want to date/have sex with other people. Never in a million would I have thought it would be because he was going to pursue something serious with someone else.
Despite the fact that I feel like shit and I am fucking crying, this really is an ode. I don’t think I will ever understand what really happened with him or if I did something wrong but I am truly happy that I met him and was able to feel again. I gained another life experience that most people that are 29 have. Dating is so new and confusing to me. I got scared at one point about this blog - what would I write about when I ceased to want to write about my ex? But dating is so new to me and soooo fucking confusing that I do not think I will be short on material anytime soon.
So thank you! Thank you! Thank you for making my heart race, for the fun times, the great sex and for my realization that when I’m ready to be in a relationship I will be able to jump into it because I am not broken.
Adieu (The End)
I think that my ex fiance wanted to do the right thing. I know that he thought about our life together and the children we wanted to have. I’ve personally never witnessed someone so torn about anything before. In previous months it ate at his soul, he drank so so much. In February, it was like he had come to accept that he was an asshole. His heart was split in half and because she was in his life every day at work, it was impossible for him to move past her, for us to move past her. We both knew this but we both wanted to make sure we really gave this one last shot before giving up on over 7 years and on the rest of our lives together. While it hurt and one part of me thought I should have more respect for myself, another part of me wanted to fight for love. This girl has such a black heart, I knew she would never really love him, and that this was a game to her. But it felt like those two were against me, like I was outnumbered.
It didn’t feel like he really tried. The worst part is, when you’re with someone for 7 years, you can pick up on the smallest of details. This escalated to a whole new level a behavior of mine that I am beyond not proud of - going through all of his personal stuff. When someone looks you in the face and lies to you and you KNOW they are lying but you have no proof, you start to go crazy. I had already been going through his receipts for clues but then I went through everything: facebook, his email, and the worst, I hacked into his bank account. I could really see what he was up to that way.
Then one day I remembered something. He and I were on a family phone plan! Hello! I can see everything he’s doing. I took screen shots of all of their texts and phone calls as evidence. He had integrated the deletion of their texts and phone calls into his everyday routine. But here was the proof that the communication was still going on.
This leads to the core problem of what to do with the information found. How do I know that you weren’t actually at a bar tonight when you said that you were? A couple of reasons:
1) When you answered my phone call there was no “bar noise” behind you
2) The way that you said, “I’m paying my tab right now”. I could hear the bullshit in your voice, that you were making this up. AND you turned your head to say it to someone else to you because your voice faded a bit mid way through the sentence.
3) Checked your bank statement, no transaction that night.
It was that night that I considered tracking his phone so I could see where he was. I was one click away from complete and total crazy. Truthfully, the only thing that stopped me was knowing that if he found out it would be over on the spot. I consider this moment a personal low (this is so embarrassing to admit that I did this shit, BTW).
February 12, 2011
I went to yoga class on Saturday morning. This yoga instructor is just amazing. She always says really inspirational stuff at the beginning of every class. I had been feeling horrible for pretty obvious reasons. Then she starts speaking about the Veil of Maya. She compared it to a smoky glass shower door, that you can’t see through to yourself clearly. And that she hoped that through our practice we could clear that fog. “Maybe, by the end of class, you can just poke a hole through it and see back to your true self.”
Then during class, it hit me, a wonderful epiphany. I realized that a big part of the reason I felt so awful was not just because of what he was doing, but what I was doing! I wasn’t being myself!! I am a horrible liar and thus 95% of the time, I just don’t. My soul was being ripped apart by my snooping. I decided I would come clean Tuesday after Valentine’s Day.
February 14, 2011
This whole time I was waiting for him to make some romantic gesture. Even just send a girl some flowers! But it never happened. I asked him about this once.”Why aren’t you even trying to win me back over?” He told me that if he did something like that, he wanted to be 100% behind it. So if it happened I would know it was legit. Well, it never happened. When Valentine’s Day hit I was so sad. Now he would “have to” do something nice for me but only because of this stupid fucking holiday. (Seriously, I think VDay is the WORST thing ever! You don’t need this day if you are in a relationship and it’s a whole day that makes anyone that is sans partner feel like shit. WTF!) He came home from work that night and started to cook me dinner. Sigh, that boy can cook. Back when we were a happy couple, this would have been my idea of heaven. We spent so much time in the kitchen together, talking and smoking while cooking. God, I miss that. On this night, I went into my room and cried. He would never be doing this for me if it wasn’t for the damn holiday. He made the best Chicken Marsala he ever made that night.
February 15, 2011
I was so nervous to sit down with him and come clean. I thought it could even possibly be the end of everything right then and there. But I knew that in order to be true to myself I had to do it. He took it pretty well. He said he was really disappointed in me but he had to know that my behavior was his fault. I felt so much better after coming clean.
February 21, 2011
It was President’s Day and we had the day off. We made plans to hang out with another couple, Justin and Karen, and go to Disneyland together. It was A GREAT DAY! The four of us had so much fun together. We even got our standard compliment from them - that we were a great couple to hang out with, we weren’t all clingy or secretive. We laughed so much that day and held each other while in line for rides. We ended the night back at our place talking about music and listening to Cat Stevens (one of my favs). Perfect.
February 22, 2011
I get a phone call from him while I’m at work around 4. He tells me that he wants to say goodbye to Karen before she flies back home so he is going to go to Justin’s house for a bit after work. There is nothing fishy about his story. I just know that he isn’t telling me something. Just a feeling. Just this amazing ability because I know him so well to be able to pick up on pauses he makes or the tone of his voice, I don’t even know, his own mother wouldn’t have been able to pick up on it.
He gets home that night and I just have to know what actually happened that night. Like the sneaky bitch I had become I waited until bedtime. I stood in the doorway of the bathroom and watched him put toothpaste on his toothbrush. The moment he put the toothbrush into his mouth I went right into the bedroom, picked up his iPhone, pressed messages and went right to Justin’s messages. Right there it said that my ex and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would be over at 6. AHHHH! Not only had she been there but quite possibly they went over to Justin’s house together. I immediately confronted him. He was so disgusted that the moment he turned his back I was going through his phone. I was disgusted that he could not stop hanging out with her. We got into a MASSIVE fight and he broke up with me for the last time.
February 23, 2011
He came home from work and told me that he had spoken to a friend and he was going to spend the night at his place on Thursday, which meant that tonight was it, the last night we would spend in our bed together. “I would have gone there tonight but I really wanted to be here. I hope that’s okay.” I shook my head yes. I wanted him here more than anything.
In that moment I saw him. The man that I loved, back after all those months. I could see him in his eyes again. It hurt to see that he was still in there somewhere and yet it felt good to know that he still loved me and that this hurt him, too.
We knew the next chapter of our lives was going to be extremely difficult, although that word doesn’t really begin to describe what it takes to unravel two lives from one another. Especially when you have been together for over 7 years, lived together for 5 and had planned on living your lives out with one another. Moving out, splitting up everything you own, the financial burden of replacing the stuff the other person kept, joint custody of the cat and dog, the list goes on. On top of all that, neither one of us would be able to let the other one go for months (all documented in my writings here).
That night, I lay on my side and he cuddled up behind me, the cat on my left and the dog on his right. I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I let myself be present and enjoy the moment, this moment that had happened so many, many times before was now precious. I closed my eyes, felt his arms around me and drifted off, knowing it was our last night together as a couple.
The biggest truth about me.
I don’t just wear my heart on my sleeve, the blood drips down my wrist and off of my fingertips.
Maybe We Will Be Okay?
January 17, 2011
After the 500 Days of Summer tour and the great couple of days that we have had it’s time to have The Talk. I was on edge from the moment that we got back home from downtown. Was he going to move back in? Were we going to try and make this work?
He had moved in with a mutual female friend. Her lease was coming to an end that month and they were in talks about officially becoming roommates. This infuriated me. We were in a sensitive situation and I last thing I felt we needed was more fucking stress on making a decision concerning our relationship and the rest of our lives. I was so bitter towards her for this additional stress. It was bad enough that we were supposed to get married in two months.
That was a whole other thing. So everything that has been happening is bad enough, right? But add to all of this the pressure that we are supposed to say I Do to each other….so stressful. So we have The Talk and make two major decisions:
1) He is going to move back in and we are going to try and move forward.
2) We are going to cancel the wedding. He thinks that this is no way for us to get married and that it has been tainted.
January 20, 2011
When he moves back in I feel such relief. After living with him for 5 years (plus the two years prior we were almost always at each other’s places) it just feels unbelievably weird to not have him in my daily life. With him home I feel so much relief.
I tell him if he wants to call off the wedding, he needs to be the one to contact the venue and cancel. I just can’t bring myself to do it and I don’t feel like I should have to given the circumstances.
January 24, 2011
Dear Julie and Xxxx,
We are so sorry that you two are having troubles. This confirms our conversation that your wedding is cancelled for Mar 20 2011. I am so very sorry for the troubles in your relationship, I will pray for your love to grow and strengthen. We look forward to your rebooking. Xxxx is hopeful for possible October this year. I would particularly cherish the opportunity of making all your dreams come true at that time.
Thank you for your kind words Xxxx and your understanding and agreement that we have to keep the non refundable wedding date lock in fee to cover all our losses on the blocked rooms and lost wedding date. With your agreement and confirmation within 24 hour we will waive any further charges and we will start refunding your guests reservations. Please confirm this agreement and email.
You better believe I cried my fucking heart out after that hit my Inbox. No one should ever have to return a wedding dress. I wouldn’t even wish that on the bitch he cheated on me with.
So what does it take to move forward after one party fucks the other party over so monumentally? Well, both people have to really want it. You can’t try just because you think it’s the right thing to do. I really tried. I made some serious fucking changes. Things he had complained about for years. But I probably should have actually done those things years prior. Too little, too late. He on the other hand, was still so torn. We had so much history together and I do believe that he wanted the life with me but you can’t control your heart. He had very strong feelings for her. I don’t believe he tried. At all.
Here’s a confession for you: I am a horrible cuddler. I have been told this not only by not just this ex but the one before him. My lack of cuddling skills was a HUGE issue for my ex. Huge. (This is just the worst because it’s hard to control something you do when sleeping. I cannot help it if I roll over in the middle of the night. Or if I get hot from someone’s body heat. Or if my neck cramps and it wakes me up.) A switch was made in my brain though. I was so GRATEFUL to have him back in my bed that I actually liked him holding me while we slept. It was nice to know he was there. So that was fixed.
Our sex life: I don’t think there was ever a week where there wasn’t some form of sexual activity at least 4 out of the 7 days of the week but it had gotten routine. However, ever since back in November when we realized things were falling apart our sex life had become amazing. Extremely passionate. Fixed.
Next up. Our social lives. We had spent a lot of our time in Los Angeles not going out a lot. At first we didn’t have a lot of money. Then after he got the job, we were in different cities for happy hour and I didn’t have a car. He had somehow gotten it into his head that I liked staying in every night (while it is true that I am naturally a homebody, this was and is not true). Part of the reason that things with him and her had been able to escalate as they did was because we weren’t hanging out together anymore. Everyone in his office knew what was going on and what he had done. I was super, super embarrassed by this. I originally didn’t want to hang out with any of them. But in my desperation, I conceded and started hanging out with his coworkers. I actually ended up really liking some of them and having a good time. Also, around this time his friend Mark started hanging out with us a lot. He and his girlfriend had just broken up and he was NOT handling it well. It was a relief for me to not be the one going on and on about my break up. He thought it was amazing that we were trying to make it work, not giving up. He crashed at our house a lot. I thought of us as the heartbreak club. The three of us would do our damn best to deal with the pain. We played a lot of Mario Kart. I had never realized how cathartic video games could be. Everything happens so quickly, giving you zero opportunity to think about your problems. Fixed.
She and he worked together so she was still in his life. Every day. At this point I couldn’t even ask him to leave his job because I didn’t know if we would be together next week. Which made it impossible for me to move on.
I could still tell that he was a million miles away from me though. That things had changed. That his heart did not belong exclusively to me anymore.
Next up: We keep trying but it just doesn’t work.