This is why I don’t talk to any of my ex boyfriends (save one from high school, but that reconnection was in a far different space, long after the wounds had healed). I don’t know if my problem is an ego temper tantrum, or just emotions, or some physical disentanglement of matter and particles, but fuck man, ending an 11-year relationship can really inflict some pain.
The following thoughts may be extremely disjointed so if you can’t keep up, don’t feel bad. My head sometimes rivals the mountains for twisty turns and back asswards roads, and getting lost is easy. Too bad there’s no Google Maps for my thoughts. (How cool would a satellite picture of your thoughts be?)
John and I went to dinner and then for a walk on the beach the other night. It was the first time we’d met and it was not a romantic date (or intended to be). Something he said stuck in my head. I don’t even remember what the subject was but he stops me mid-sentence and says, “That’s the second time you’ve said you’re leaving. Didn’t you just get here?”
Well yes, I did. I’ve been in San Diego three months. I know I’ll probably be here several years – a decade seems to be my average in a place. It used to be that I wanted to live in the same place forever because I was annoyed with how I was moved all over the country as a child. But even after it was my own decision where to live, circumstances kept me mobile. In my new adult naiveté, I decided instead of resisting the changes, I would embrace them and assume that wherever I moved to would not be the last place/time, so get happy with it or die trying. Hence, I accept the knowledge that even tho I just got here, I may not be here forever. I didn’t intend for that to be reflected so prominently in my speech tho. That can’t be good – certainly, it doesn’t portend living in the Now as I strive to do.
It has also crossed my mind that now that I’ve embraced my gypsy gene, the Universe will probably fuck with me and I’ll never leave this area. It would totally be par for the course. I’m just trying to be okay with whatever comes my way.
So anyway, when Mark asked me to move out, one of the reasons he cited was my inability to stay put (despite the fact that I’d lived in NJ 11 years). He said he couldn’t live with always wondering when I might finally scratch that itch to live elsewhere. The kid part of me that got dragged from school to school totally gets that, but the adult part of me that’s trying only to live in the moment was again annoyed. Sometimes it feels like I can do nothing right.
I want a fairy tale (which to me, includes the good and the not as good times). I want to feel like I could be with one man until the end of this lifetime and never want things to change. I’m a very monogamous person. I adore my comfort zone. I certainly felt that way with Mark the first several years of our relationship, but he was not in that space the same time I was.
I also want to be impeccable with my word. If I make a promise – especially of the heart - I want to be sure I can keep it. When Mark asked me to move in with him five years ago, the only reason I couldn’t promise to be there forever is because I KNOW the northeast is not my most favorite place, and I know how long forever is. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened – maybe after Katy flew the coop, I could’ve traveled more and that would’ve satisfied my wanderlust. Maybe I would’ve found that travel wasn’t enough. Maybe I should’ve kept all that to myself, but then what kind of promise was I making? Seems like I fucked myself either way. Is honesty always the best policy?
The practical side of me wonders how anyone can feel good about making promises when they have no idea if they can keep them. Even if you are the type to generally stay in one area your entire life, how can you possibly promise to be there forever? As the commercial says: Life comes at you fast. Forever is a very long time. If you have kids, you know how long forever is. Or look at the divorce rate and you’ll see that even the best intentions don’t always last long enough to meet forever. (Once you think you get the “forever” thing, try wrapping your head around the concept of infinity. That’s really what forever is, but for purposes of this blog, forever will just mean to the end of this lifetime.)
I’m so unsure what to do about that. I don’t want to make the same mistake in the future, but I need to be honest. I mean seriously, Mark’s got a point – how can I ever commit to a relationship fully if I think – no, expect – that someday I’ll want to move? Yet I want that kind of committed connection. The only way it would work is if the person I’m with is the same way, then it’s a matter of deciding whose choice of places we’ll live in next (and when).
Ok, so that math makes my brain hurt, but here’s what killed me.
When I left, Mark and I decided to hold our relationship in limbo. We both understood that we were no longer exclusive so if something came up, we were free to pursue it. We also commiserated that neither one of us was of a mind to seek out someone new. We decided if circumstances offered an opportunity to be together temporarily, neither of us would feel weird about taking advantage. Most people call this “friends with benefits” but in our case it’s more like an IPO (“I Put Out”? haha) with stock options since the dividends only paid out once or twice a year.
Surprisingly (or not, if I think about how our relationship started), it only took him a month or so for something to come up. My out of control Ego whispers to me “Probably not even a month! It must’ve been killing him that you took so long to leave!” which may not be fair, but it’s how I feel on my less mature days. Then Left Brain looks over its glasses at Ego and says, “Oh please. Go to your room.” So Ego stalks off to its brain cell muttering, “Well it wouldn’t be the FIRST time.”
I’ve been trying to keep Ego in time out and sort through all these emotions that ride along with letting go. I know it’s necessary. I know it’s probably best. I know if this is how it is, then we were not meant to be together and I have to accept that. I am just pushed out of my comfort zone is all. I’ll get over it. I cling to the words of Eckhart Tolle (as much as his visage creeps me out) that “whatever experience I’m having right now is the one I need to be having.” Great, but does this thing go any faster? Cuz seriously, I’ve got the pedal to the floor and I feel like I’m crawling.
I don’t begrudge Mark happiness, or new feelings for someone else, or whatever those may turn into. But it adds a degree of difficulty when what came up is one of your own friends, especially one that recently left her boyfriend. Ego totally busts out of the chair at that point shouting all kinds of ideas about how long this has really been going on (again, especially knowing Mark’s & my history), what point it may or may not be at now (like that really matters?), and how little respect that shows, not only from Mark, but also from my friend (but I, of all people, know there is something afoot beyond conscious choice of who you end up having feelings for). Am I that easily replaced tho?
Even though I’ve managed to stuff Ego back into Pandora’s box and lock that shit up, I’m still left to decide how I choose to react to the situation. And Ego’s muffled cries are not entirely unheard. Ignoring any part of Self and leaving emotions unresolved is the cloth dis-ease is woven from, and I don’t want that (witness the sinus infection – let’s not keep going there!). But I’m not a baby or a psychotic bitch either. Sometimes I wish I was because this would probably sort itself out faster.
I’ve tried to remain friends with both of them. We’ve all talked on the phone (not at the same time), but I don’t trust that I’m getting the entire story. Mark has continued entertaining flirtations and sexual innuendo when we converse on IM. I played along until today when it was made clear that I was mistaken in thinking our friendly IPO still had stock options. Ouch. Especially coming from someone who is known for his polyamorous ideas. Now I feel doubly stupid.
I just want to let go of the process. Of ALL of it. Change your mind, change your life. In the daily existence I define as “normal,” I do believe it’s that easy. But this isn’t normal. And is that really resolving anything? Is it easier or harder to rip this bandaid off all at once? (Unfortunately, as a kid I was never the rip it off kind.)
This is one time I don’t want to live in the Now. I want to leave tomorrow in the sparkly dust from my pumpkin carriage’s wheels.
Do you think Cinderella ever had to deal with this shit before Prince Charming came along? I know how long forever is... how long is Happily Ever After?