As a relatively new blogger, but one who is writing primarily about particularly personal experiences, I am at times struggling to find the balance between too much and too little personal detail. To me, details matter: they have been significant throughout this entire experience; they feed dreams and split seams. Difficult and painful as this as experience has been, I want to write about it. I hope what follows is as respectful as it is honest.
In my first posts, I discussed the collapse of my engagement. That final break up followed a week of communication, wherein although she had called it a week previously in the heat an argument, things seemed to be improving. This had itself been preceded by some two weeks of a ‘break’ as she tried to figure out what she wanted.
This Sunday marks five weeks since she ended it permanently. I always suspected, based on the weeks of uncertainty, that it would end this way, but still – naturally – held out hope. Short as the relationship was, we had a whole future planned, comprised of mutual passions, shared dreams and places to see, and I didn’t think she would actually throw it all away. The final break was relief from agonising uncertainty. I came out of it glum, but hopeful, knowing that I could only go upwards from here.
In fact, annoyingly, I’ve been feeling far worse as time has gone on. Someone informed me that she already had a new man – someone I knew she was close to – a mere two weeks after the final break up. In our last conversation she had said there was nothing going on between them; and she wouldn’t be going into another relationship because – her reason for ending it with me – she didn’t have time for a relationship.
Knowing I was right, doesn’t help. It fucking hurts. The worthlessness and rejection I feel is phenomenal, whilst the thoughts of them together, reliving the memories she and I had made and which I thought were cherished by both of us, and sharing the intimacy which, between us, she had said meant so much, are torture. The simple fact is, with an ocean between us, I’ll never know the full story. Rightly or wrongly, I wish I did. But now I need to move on – indeed, I’m desperate to – and after weeks of heartbreak, misery, lethargy, apathy, despair, tears, sleep and endless spinning, spinning, relaying and replaying; I think, knowing what I know now, I am finally ready to.
It’s been an incredibly gruelling process; a whirlwind of emotions, mostly negative. And whilst I now can see some light – or at least feel some rays making their way down through the branches – I’m not out of the woods yet. However, the fact remains that without the support of others I would be many, many miles away from the place I am at now. I initially thought I was weak for knowing I couldn’t get through this alone. (For the record, I know I’m privileged not to have to.) But at this point, after hitting the lows that I have, I couldn’t care less. And this, for me, is the most important point of this post: to say thank you.
I’ve bent a lot ears about this – usually the same bunch – over the past 6-8 weeks. Now, everything I want, and have, to say is like a script I’ve memorised: a monologue delivered as a brainstorm with every tangent covered, complete with rhetorical questions, points of optimism and points of sorrow. Unfortunately, there is no half-measure – it just pours out. I’m like a mathematician who is desperate to share their calculations, in the hope that when they finally share it for the nth time, they will exorcise the unenviable experience of hours upon hours of isolated investigation and introspection.
This won’t be a long list of names, rather a few examples of support. But given how much I have talked about this, I can’t carry on writing what’s on my mind without acknowledging the help of others, and what it has meant to me.
When everything was first all up in the air, I went to the wedding of two very dear friends (I alluded to this in my first post). Friends and family were in the country from as far away as Australia. The bride and groom both knew what was happening, but of course I wasn’t going to let it interfere with their big day, no matter how desperate I was to tell her I loved her. Later in the evening, the groom took me aside and asked how I was. I’m fine, I told him, and anyway, it didn’t matter about me – it was his [and her] day. No, he replied;
“You’ve been doing a lot for other people recently. But how are you?”
I could’ve cried there and then. In fact, I think my voice did crack somewhat, as I said that obviously stuff with me wasn’t great, but it had been a wonderful day and I was so happy for him and his beautiful bride.
This was an act of kindness I never anticipated, because it almost felt too clichéd: the hero of the piece, taking a barely-available moment out of the action to check on the little guy. I’ve since recalled this to him, but he’ll never know properly how much that question meant to me.
I find it difficult to describe the conversations between my family and I, because the details are by nature so personal and private, that I don’t feel comfortable relaying them publicly. But of course they cannot escape mention: I’m strong enough to admit openly that this experience has been ugly and emotional, and I have put them through hell. If I was a parent and saw my child suffering how I appeared to have been suffering, I’d probably cope with that about as calmly as I’ve coped with this. I must thank them more often.
Finally, but by no means least – or all – there has been one very close friend, who writes a wonderful blog by the name of Geek Magnifique, who has been an absolute rock. As this post may suggest, I have no qualms about typing – or talking – endlessly; and this friend I have put through so much conversation. Every development – big or small, good or bad – throughout these many weeks, she has been kept abreast of, heard me (repeatedly) analyse and agonise over (and over and over), and offered advice on. Whilst my family saw me at my lowest, I turned to her when I felt my lowest. I’ve been talking to her about it day after day after day. To top it all off, when all this began she had just started a new job. I know I’ve put far more on her than I ever should have. I just couldn’t help it. I feel guilty. If she ever needs it, I hope I can offer the same level of support. I could not have got through this without her.
I had the honour of seeing her get married two years ago to another very good friend – my old bandmate – and all I can say is that I’m simply so fortunate to have them (and the other friends in the group) in my life. It was reading one of her blog posts a week or so after it had properly ended – a courageously honest piece – which hit home so directly and made me realise that whilst I may not be able to brush this all off so easily, there is always hope – a realisation for which I’m very grateful. Similarly, the day I found out about my ex and her new man, I hit rock bottom pretty damn quickly; right back to square one. She sent me a new post she had just finished, but hadn’t yet published. “I think you should read it”, she said.
“It’s an open letter to anyone struggling, and I want you to believe the words.”
I want you to believe the words.
And I did.
I’d like to end though with something she wrote in that earlier post that sent salt down my cheeks. Truly, there is no combination of words I needed to hear more, and they are always worth remembering.
“You are loved and cared about, and things will get better.”
Those mentioned, if they happen to read this, will know who they are. To all those mentioned and those who aren’t but have lent an ear even for a second (and it’s usually been far longer);