Today marks six months since The Ex and I went our separate ways. I’d like to say that it’s all in the past and it’s all for the best that it didn’t work out. But I can’t. I’d like to tell you that I don’t know that it’s been a little over 26 weeks since that day. Or better yet, that I don’t know that it’s actually been 184 days, or 4,416 hours, since he ended everything. But I do. I’d like to say that I haven’t thought of him nearly every minute since he vanished. But I have.
I know I haven’t finished the story yet, but that moment six months ago still makes me angry. The months leading up to that moment still makes me angry. The months that have passed since then make me angry. The fact that I’m not a happily married newlywed right now makes me angry. Really most everything about this situation makes me angry. I’m angry that I was so misunderstood, I’m angry that I was taken for granted, and mostly, I’m angry that I made my own mistakes that I now have no ability to correct. I’m angry that for one reason or another relationships never work out for me and this was just another illuminating example.
But mostly the anger is really a symptom. It is a symptom of sadness. I could just as easily replace every use of the word “angry” in the sentences above with the word “sad” and they would be just as accurate.
Admittedly, I still miss him. As bad as our relationship got those last six months or so before the break up and as unreasonable and immature as he was, I still miss him very much. I miss the fun we had together. I miss talking with him about my day. I miss the dozen or so text messages I would typically receive from him on any given day. I miss listening to music with him, enjoying concerts together and making fun of reality television at home on a rainy night. I miss his hugs. I miss his ability to make me laugh. I miss having someone open a car door for me (call me an old-fashioned girl, but I do love a man who has some manners and treats a girl like a lady). I miss that I didn’t have to worry about him in a crowd, he could hold his own in a social situation. I miss how my hand fit perfectly inside his. I miss lunches shared during my workday when he was off work. I miss receiving flowers on the job from him for no reason at all. I miss the guy that asked my mother for her blessing before he proposed marriage. I miss him telling me that I was beautiful every day without fail.
There was definitely some good there and I miss that tremendously… so much sometimes that my heart hurts. Physically hurts. It’s at those times that my memories torment me and my mind blocks out all the troublesome qualities he and our relationship possessed and only seems to remember the good. When that happens, the urge is stronger than ever to contact him in some way and see if he’d be willing to speak with me. Somewhere deep inside my heart I still must hold some hope that we could make it work, that we could be happy together.
In summary, this sucks.
I’m sure that what I’m going through is normal. Break ups aren’t supposed to be easy… if they were then that would be a sign that you never truly cared to begin with. My philosophy anyway. The thing about this that is different than in past relationships is that the break up not only represents an end to a relationship, but also an engagement, a wedding, a marriage, a fusion of families… and most importantly, a friendship. I can honestly say that I felt he had become my best friend. And the loss of that is felt deeply.
On another note, I think too, that everything that has been playing out in the background of this break up has helped to shape my feelings and maybe make them more raw, more deeply felt.
My relationship with my big brother seems to be beyond repair. We don’t even speak anymore. I mean, the last time I talked with him was over three months ago. He lives in the same town as me, his daughter goes to daycare only a block from my work every day and yet I never see him. I’m lucky to see him at holidays and maybe an occasional birthday dinner or two throughout the year.
He used to be the best big brother. Growing up I remember thinking he could do absolutely no wrong. He’s never been a talker but for everything he didn’t actually verbalize, he made up for in action. Despite our nearly five year age difference we played together as kids, riding bikes in the neighborhood, racing matchbox cars in the foyer and passing notes back and forth to each other under our bedroom doors when we were in trouble. He’d help me with homework, we played video games together, and I pretty much followed him everywhere he went. He didn’t seem to mind. As we got older, he let me tag along with him and his buddies to concerts, to movies, to football games and get this… even on dates. And I truly believe he didn’t mind or he wouldn’t have let me come along. Yep, he was a pretty great big brother and I loved him and admired him beyond words. I always thought I was such a lucky girl to have such a great big brother. I’d listen to friends talk about their siblings and how they fought and hated each other and I would just smile. I felt so fortunate not to have those problems.
About a decade ago, that changed… he changed. He met someone very controlling and instead of being his own person, he cowered. She didn’t like me or my family and so she preceded to systematically cut us out of his life AND the worst part… he let her. I always thought he cared more, that he’d never turn his back on us, but I was wrong. Now I must admit, looking back, I am not blameless and I made some mistakes early on that also contributed to our current situation but I was young and deeply hurt by this sudden disinterest my brother had adopted for me and our family. Fast forward to present day, through all the years of silence, of hurt feelings, of lost time and here we are… barely speaking to one another.
In a very disparaging time in my life when I could have really used a big brother… he hasn’t been around. Where is he? The guy who used to say, “hey, if you’ve got nothing to do tonight why don’t you come out to the movies with me and my friends?” Where’s the guy that used to help me with my homework, the one who used to tell me, “it’s okay… just take your time, you’ll get it.” What happened to him? The answer is, he’s gone. That brother I don’t think I’ll ever see again. It’s kind of a death without the actual death… and having experienced a good bit of death in my life… this is harder. That brother that I used to know belongs to another lifetime but he is physically still here. It’s beyond my comprehension.
And I feel that my brother’s absence in my life really extends these feelings of hurt, sadness, and loneliness that I’m feeling from this last disastrous relationship and break up. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t feel these things any way because I’m absolutely convinced that no matter how great everything else was or is in my life, these terrible feelings would still be there and I’d still have to work through them. I mean I can’t open up to someone to that level, make all these plans, build all these hopes and dreams up in my mind and then not be at least somewhat crushed and destroyed when it all falls apart. But I do feel that the deep loss I have felt over my brother has just compounded these feelings of loss over this relationship and so now I’m dealing with both at the same time. And I also feel that the strong urge I mentioned before, that comes over me sometimes to contact The Ex, I really think that’s my subconscious working overtime to mend the relationship with my brother. But on both accounts, I can’t mend either one.
And as if it couldn’t get any worse… I’ve also apparently overestimated many of my friends. Friends who are supposed to be there for you when life is good and all is going right but then can also be there with you when life isn’t so good, when you are falling apart. Aren’t friends supposed to be there to help you pick up the pieces and go on? I’m not saying spend every waking moment with me… but be willing to check in regularly, get me out in the world every once in a while, let me talk if I need to. Well, apparently I am about the only one of my friends who thinks this way. Over the last six months there have been many nights I’ve sat at home wondering where are all my friends? They all mostly disappeared aside from an occasional text message or short phone call. So this has caused me to sometimes doubt my own ability to be a good friend. Maybe I haven’t been there for them, maybe I’m not as good of a friend to people as I thought. And maybe I expect too much from them or maybe I don’t make it clear how much I need them. Or, to cut myself a little slack, maybe they just weren’t all that great of people to begin with and I need to reevaluate them and my friend-making requirements. I go round and round with this all the time too. Regardless, I think I’ve just learned lesson #472 from this entire ordeal of the last year and that is to have a friend you have to be a friend.
In these last six months I’ve really worked overtime to not shut down completely. Some days I succeed… some I do not. With no big brother and not many friends around to help, I’ve really tried hard, mostly on my own, to resist the strong urge of becoming a hermit. You know what I’m talking about… the urge to draw up in my home with my feline friends and never speak to another human as long as humanly possible. Yes, I’m tempted to do just that. Yes, I’m hurt by The Ex. Yes, I’m sad my dreams are dead. Yes, I’m disappointed in more than one person. Yes, I’m lonely and the television has now become my lifelong companion. I’ve been trying to refocus these thoughts into more positive ones. More like Yes, I’m capable of making new friends, getting through this break up, and living life to the fullest. Yes, I’ll find someone else. Yes, I’m a good person and the right people will see that. Yes, I’m grateful for all that I do have in this life, for lessons I keep learning, and for God’s everlasting love that will carry me through any human pain because His love knows no human limitations.
But GEEZ… it’s tough to not feel like you just want to give up and quit on everything when so many things have gone wrong, so many people have let you down, and your world just feels like it’s crumbled into a million little pieces. People keep telling me that old adage, “time heals all wounds.” Well, a decade hasn’t been long enough to heal the wound my brother left on my heart when he abruptly walked out of my life. And six months is not nearly enough time to heal the wound caused when The Ex, followed suit, and also abruptly walked out of my life. These two men have that in common, they both left, they both gave up, they both walked out… and not gradually, but suddenly and with very little warning and in the most hurtful way imaginable. So for now, six months after the break up occurred, I’m just feeling that not enough time has passed. In those 26 weeks or 184 days or 4,416 hours, not enough time has passed… at least not yet.