Love is like a marshmallow. Squishy, sticky, and it explodes in the microwave.
Let’s start over. Love is like a s’mores.
I have a history as a dumper. I’ve dumped quite a few guys – some who deserved it and some who were just unlucky enough to be snagged in my web at the wrong time.
Last December I got dumped for what I consider to be the first real time. I saw it coming and thought about doing it first to get it over with. I eventually just let it ride. It hurt, but not nearly as bad as I can imagine it would have if I’d been blindsided. Or if I had actually been in love.
I’ve been in only one relationship where I experienced what I now consider to be real, mutual love.
It was blissful, romantic, full of laughter, and full of adventure. It was also a rocky, winding, painful road. I cared so deeply for him that his pain was my pain and my pain was his pain. This was a problem because we both had a lot of pain – nearly too much pain for one person to handle, and neither of us could withstand doubling our own pain with each other’s.
I was gradually dealing with some of my pain and in his own way he was dealing with parts of his. But the pain that wasn’t dealt with grew and eventually we self-destructed.
I went through a series of stages after the initial implosion:
- Trying to convince myself that I didn’t love him.
- Trying to pretend like we could get back together and be fine (we actually tried this a few times… implosion, implosion, implosion, you get the idea).
- Throwing myself into work, school, friendships, home-buying, and various other activities to distract myself from the fact that I still loved him (my therapist used to call this “flight to education,” said I’ve been doing it since age 8, and that it’s relatively healthy compared to other psychological reactions – in case you are doing the same thing right now).
- Convincing myself that we were meant to be together but the timing was wrong and deciding to just wait it out.
Stages 3 and 4 sometimes overlapped and lasted for a long time. I was content staying busy, being oblivious, and not talking to him for years while believing we would be together “one day.” During this time I dated irregularly- breaking heart after heart because I wasn’t actually interested in real love. I had already found it, duh.
Then out of the blue, someone who I had dated many, many years before showed up and tried to convince me that we were meant to be together. He had been biding his time waiting for his own “one day” with me.
I was shocked, horrified, and told him flat out that he was wasting his time. The next day I woke up a total mess, having realized that I was setting myself up for the same type of failure and denying myself the chance to love someone new.
I flew to New York City and spent almost an entire weekend holed up in a hotel room singing Adele’s then just-released hit, “Someone Like You.” Even the maids were embarrassed.
I thought long and hard about Stage 4. I stayed in denial for a few more weeks and then decided I needed to give myself a chance to be happy with someone else. I was determined to stop dating as a distraction and that’s when my last boyfriend (let’s call him “the dumper”) came knocking.
He was of course, oblivious to my insanity. I enjoyed being with him and felt like it had potential to turn into something more, but he eventually decided otherwise and slowly backed away.
The day he broke up with me I called an old friend and we met for drinks. Like a good friend, he told me how awful the dumper was, how amazing I am, and how excited he was for me to meet the next, better guy. There was a lot of whiskey and a little bit of crying. Then there was a bombshell.
He shared news about my real love. I knew immediately, deep down, what he was going to say and that it was true. It suddenly turned into one day that I wouldn’t forget, but not the one I wanted.
I was never, ever getting him back.
This realization was both freeing and heartbreaking in a way I had never experienced before. It was a convenient time to be heartbroken because I had just been dumped, so I hid behind that curtain. Very few people knew that other than a twinge of hurt pride over the dumper – It was my real love that I was dying inside over.
There isn’t really a lesson in this story. I just want the universe to know that I’m doing better. Knowledge and acceptance have been powerful friends to me these past few months.
It’s coming up on summertime again in New Orleans and one day soon I might fall into my next, real love.
Hopefully, I’ll be ready.
Sidebar: I like tiger lilies, cupcakes, whiskey, and a good debate. I sing when no one is listening and dance when everyone is watching. If you want to date me, follow me on twitter for a month and you’ll probably change your mind.
Other sidebar: My deepest, sincerest apologies to every other guy I’ve dated. Some of you I’ve gained as amazing friends while others may be lost to me forever. I didn’t set out to inflict pain- but I know I ended up spreading misery when I misguidedly set out to forget my own. I’m sorry.