The Love Equation

March 14, 2020

How fitting that we’re talking about an equation on pi day!

 

You know that equation that says when you break off a relationship, you need about half the time you were dating to be fully over it? I’m there. A little quicker than I should be. Maybe?

This should be my last post directly about that relationship…And just so everyone is clear, nothing I’ve included in these blogs were said ‘behind his back’. Everything I’ve shared I said to him first, usually many times. I’m not sure how much of what I said got through to him. Or how intently he listened. But … I’m not sharing anything that he doesn’t already know. I’ve invited him to read my blog. In his words, it’s too much effort to look up my site and read through my posts.

This isn’t meant to be a bash-the-ex kind of blog. It’s meant to demonstrate how the best intentions in a relationship can still mean a chasm between those in that relationship. I dated you-know-who for about five months. I’ve talked about the ups and downs and what led to the end, so I won’t bore you with those things in this post.

I was hurt when I ended the relationship. And it didn’t make sense to me. I knew he wasn’t the right person for me. He was toxic. And damaging to my self-worth. But I still hated to sever ties with him. There were appealing aspects of his personality. He brought me out of my shell. He dragged me along on adventures I wouldn’t have pursued alone. He, at times, made me feel sexy and desirable. That was intoxicating. I didn’t want to let go of that. And I questioned myself whether I was being fair to him. Did I give him enough time and chances to remedy those things that were hurtful? Did I extend enough time for him to feel comfortable with the level of affection I needed and the intimacy that I required? I questioned myself about how I handled the logistics of ‘us’.

So, after the break up, I spent about a week feeling sorry for myself. And crying. And hurting. I wallowed. I complained to my best friend. I ignored his calls and texts.

Then I got mad. I was mad that he thought he could treat me with anything less than respect, and I would continue wanting him. That he ignored my wants and needs for that relationship in favor of what he did. That he used me. Forced me into the kind of relationship I told him I never wanted. That he twisted my affection for him into something less pure than what I offered.

I wanted to cut off all contact with him when I ended things, but I didn’t. We did text after that first week. At times, we texted and talked almost as much as when we were dating. But it was different. It had to be. It couldn’t be the same as it once was. Not for me. Even though he called me several times a day. And texted me non-stop.

He expected us to hang out. To see each other on weekends once he got back to Montana. He actually said that until I found someone better, I could ‘love’ him. I’m not sure why he thought I’d be okay continuing on with a ‘sort of’ romance until I met someone who was truly who I wanted.

After he suggested that, I knew he and I had never been on the same page in terms of relationships. And it made me very sad for him, knowing that he thought that was a possibility. That he is so stunted in terms of emotions that he would accept that as a doable thing. I’m okay being alone rather than having to ‘have any man’ in my life.

Slowly, the amount and frequency of texts have decreased. Mostly because he has been as surly and snarky at times as he was when we were ‘dating’. Over petty and insignificant things.  I’m simply not going to be talked to or treated in that way. He doesn’t understand why I won’t call him or why I don’t tell him tiny details from my days.

He thinks I should have my phone in hand, 24/7, ready to text back within seconds, even though he routinely goes phone silent for long stretches of time in the middle of conversations. He wondered why it took me twenty minutes to reply back to a text the other day. I’m not watching my phone, waiting with baited breath for him to contact me. At one time, he was my priority. But not now. He doesn’t understand why the dynamics between us have changed. I’m not going to share everything with him like I once did. I don’t trust him like I once did. He doesn’t deserve to know everything now.

But back to the point of this post. It’s been almost two months. Specifically it’s been seven weeks since I ended things, officially. Even though I knew they were over when we went to Vegas. So I had a bit of a head start on my equation time line. I’m over the hurt. Over the crying. Over the emotions of whatever this was with him.

He still texts me. But I don’t respond right away. I don’t call him. I don’t initiate any contact. Once I get my things back from him, I probably will end most contact with him. I need to be free from his sarcastic and dark moods. His snarky comments. His judgmental attitude. What he once offered in terms of excitement has run its course. I suspect he harbors some hope that in time I will ‘come back’ to the relationship we had. I won’t. I can’t. I deserve better than what that was.

He’s a bitter person, and I don’t need that in my life. I can go down a dark hole all by myself. I don’t need him nudging me there. And I am not getting anything out of holding on to him. He needs me more than I need him. He misses me, I think. And the reverse isn’t true. I miss moments with him. I miss the laughter and the playfulness that happened. I miss the flirting. I miss the random times he would hold my hand or cuddle with me. But I don’t miss ‘us’. And that’s sad.

He could have nurtured this relationship into something good and solid and worth pursuing. But he didn’t want to. He wanted to put in the least amount of effort possible and still expected to get a big return. I’m worth more than that. I’m worth a man’s time and effort. His feelings. Emotions. Love. His creativity in planning dates. His financial output. His vulnerability. I’m worth every bit of sacrifice and second that I give him in return. I’m worth his travel. His first thoughts of the day. His last thoughts of the night.

In time, maybe he’ll see that. But I’m not sure he ever will. If he couldn’t appreciate me, while I was in his life, I doubt he’ll ever see the irony of pushing away someone he said he wanted and needed and loved. There was simply no reciprocity in our relationship. From day one, there was an imbalance, and it eventually pushed me past my tolerance level.

Not to sound too pretentious, but his absence in my life isn’t going to be as profound as my absence in his. Maybe I’m way off, but I think he’s going to have a hard time replacing the roles I fulfilled for him. As I’ve said, at my core, I’m a caretaker, and I enjoy giving those in my life comfort. I liked being the person he said he needed and craved. But that attention was never returned to me, when I needed and wanted some pampering and some solace.

I’m very glad I didn’t pursue any of the ventures we talked about. I’m glad I didn’t move to Billings for him. I still want to leave Whitehall, but I can do it on my terms, and for my reasons, not just to fit into someone else’s narrow view of the future.

If I’m being honest, I am thankful for the time I spent with him. I’m thankful it didn’t work out. I learned some valuable things about myself. I’ve learned what I will and will not tolerate from the person I choose to have in my life. His behaviors, good and bad, reminded me that I must be somewhat selfish and insist that my requirements be met in any relationship.

Obviously, everyone has bad days. Everyone loses their temper. Those situations are forgivable, as long as apologies are sincere, and that behavior doesn’t become the norm. I found myself withdrawing more and avoiding certain topics because I didn’t want to set off a stream of swearing and anger. I can’t live that way.

He showed glimmers of the man I thought he was. He could say sweet and tender things to me. He could be kind and gentle. He could be funny. He could be charming. But those lighter moments were always fleeting. They didn’t last long enough to balance out the simmering anger and cynical attitude that were always bubbling under the surface. The slightest thing could set him off into a caustic tirade of swearing and insults. And that erased all those fun and wonderful moments. By the time I was ready to walk away, there was more hurt than there was happiness while I was with him. He is a perfect example of a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

My forgiveness and patience simply ran out. Once I reached the point that I no longer saw a future with him, I needed to step out of the relationship. When I no longer looked forward to his calls and texts, and no longer wanted to make plans to get together, I knew it was over.

Now it’s time to move on, for both of us. And maybe the next love equation will be my last one.

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