I’ve been in an on/off relationship with a man since June 2006, which I think is a good chunk of time. MySpace was hugely popular then, if that puts this time-lapse into perspective. In fact, that’s how we first met- chatting it up online in the sweet month of May. I even remember his first message to me. I had the expression “Gubernaculum” posted at the top (I had just finished A&P for my degree and it was my favorite term) and he said, “A word like that could make my testicles drop.” Charming. Funny. Smart. After I met him in person the first time and he flashed that brilliant smile, I was a goner. I soon discovered that he was everything I wanted in a partner. He was it for me.
Yesterday I wanted to uppercut him in those same dangling jewels.
Not really punch him, because I’m not a physically violent person and he lives like 10 hours away, but I vaguely recall envisioning a swift four-knuckle buckle.
This time, our issues weren’t all his fault. Yes, there was a time where he alone fucked it all up in a major way. Like a Jerry Springer show. However, this time I added my own special sauce to our recipe for demise. I realized that today.
I suppose this final act started in February after we discussed giving “us” another shot. He was moving to Boise to try to get a fresh start and get his life back together. In time, he asked us to move there to be with him and we could be a family. I got excited, bought a table that would extend to fit our clan, and started sorting through my belongings. I told him I would forgive him.
I never did.
Not on purpose, mind you. I didn’t realize until today that I never actually forgave the man. What’s worse is that I didn’t forget his mistakes, either. In all honesty, I thought I was doing pretty darn good, but this morning, as I looked back over some of our email exchanges during the past eight months, my own shortcomings flashed like neon.
Ego. Pride. The need to be right. Not-so-innocent mentions of the past. Expressions of resentment and occasional reminders of my sacrifice. Not all the time, but just enough to wear down his emotional tread. My old loving, supportive, nurturing, giving self was nearly absent from our correspondence. The person who wrote the emails was not me; at least, not who I used to be or who I want to be now or in the future. I used to be his cheerleader and support system. I was once a kick-ass girlfriend. There were only flashes of the old me instead of me with flashes of some blemishes. I’m certain it contributed to issues on his side. It is painful to admit this.
I didn’t forgive him and I didn’t move, obviously. He said I sabotaged our efforts. I scoffed. But he was right. I did, but not on purpose. I didn’t even know I was doing it. I wanted to give in and move and I wanted that life, but fear secretly held me back. Fear that history would repeat itself. Fear of opening up again only to be crushed. Fear of abandonment.
Fear. It is an undercurrent in our lives.
Recent events have pushed both of us over our respective edges. At least, I know they did for him. For me, it was a series of stressful events that sparked my reptilian amygdala and set me into that “fight or flight” mode. Looking back, I can plainly see the cause and effect of every tumble during the past few months– especially these past few weeks– for both of us, which finalized the end of any possibility of a future.
I can’t believe I’m posting a clip from The Notebook here, but voila, here it is. Work at it every day. That’s realistic and it definitely sums up the majority of relationships. No one and no relationship is perfect.
But when is enough enough? Never? It’s a movie line and not from the best move ever, but is there some truth to it? If you truly love someone but you can’t seem to get it together, do you keep trying? (Aside from physical and verbal abuse.) (And don’t judge me for choices in clips. I know there are better examples, but I’m tired and they fit.)
Regardless of our now nonexistent future, I have to forgive him. I don’t have a formula, but I have to forgive him for good and leave it in the past. I just have to do it. If I hold on to the baggage, I will grow bitter. I will lack the ability to function normally in a future relationship. I will rot and fester and cancer will invade my organs. I will wrinkle and harden into an old hag. I don’t want that sort of future, even if it does mean I could frighten small children with one evil eye. I don’t want my daughter to have a corpse for a mom, although I could then fit into skinny jeans.
I forgive him and I forgive myself. I’m sorry for my part of a big mess and I want to let it all go so that I can breathe again. I want to let it go. It’s time to leave it behind.
I want to be me again. Vibrant, beautiful, and full of life. The sort of person you want to be near because they inspire you to be a better person. Lively, charming, smart-ass me.
I want to let it go and be me again.