Ouch: November 19


Well, the anger has started, so this entry is going to come off as a bit bitter. Sue me.

First off, it finally occurred to me today why he is so attractive to her -- he's just like the dad who left her. He's fun, he's dynamic, he's a flake. She's never really gotten over her dad walking out on her family, on her, and never trying to come back into her life. Never calling on birthdays, having his wife pick out a totally inappropriate present. And then, sometimes, he'd show up at holidays and charm her, and say I love you and I want you to be a part of my life, and she'd believe him, and he'd leave again and forget her, and she'd be crushed all over again.

Then I figured out, she's not looking for a partner, she's looking for a dad. That's why she's always pushed me away whenever I showed any weakness. Dads aren't supposed to be weak, they are always strong, they are always there for you. They support you financially. They pay the bills. They buy you stuff. The make sure the insurance gets paid.

And now she's found this older man, even more like her dad than me, and she can't help herself. But, I think he's more like her dad than she wants -- he's going to be true to his nature, and he's going to hurt her.

She came over today at 11am to finish packing. She is a mess, now. Very little sleep this week. To be honest, I've been getting plenty, I just wake up a lot with panic attacks.

She also had a big bruise on her face where she had hurt herself. Intentionally. I was angry when she came in, and start asking her to explain herself. She said, "I have to pack." And I said, no, I deserved an answer to these questions. Nine years, then nothing. I won't see her again. I deserve honesty now.

"If you want to talk to me, come in the other room and do it while I pack."

So I followed her, and I asked her why she told me she'd be with me forever if she was going to leave as soon as she had a crush on some other guy. I've had crushes on other women. I've felt the magic disappear with her. But I always worked past it. And I was more in love with her than ever after having survived it.

I believe that if you stick out relationships rather than bailing, you end up with someone you really understand, you really trust, and then the real fun begins. Our relationship didn't get really good until many years into it.

So I asked her why she always told me how important it was that I make a commitment to her, that she had invested all this time in me, and felt like, in her words, she had given me the best years of her life, and she didn't want me just trading her in on a younger model when she got old. And I made the promise, and I made it willingly, and I kept it. I will love you, and I will stay with you through times when I don't love you as much, through crushes on other women.

She had no answer, of course, except, "I fell in love. Did you expect me to stay?" Well, yes.

So I'm harassing her, and then I notice the bruise, and suddenly I switched over, and I'm holding her and telling her how much I love her and that she should never hurt herself. Promise me, I said, realising full well she'd say no since I had. No. Well, then, I tried logic. It won't make me feel any better if you are hurt or gone. I will only feel worse. At least this way some small part of me feels like someday, you may come back to me. And, I still love you, and I still want you to be happy. Give me that.

But I wasn't done with anger. I asked her how she could be making long-term plans with a man who is clearly so selfish. I said, what kind of dad is he going to be? Just like your dad, that's what. He'll be mister fun dad until he walks out on you and the kids. I hadn't figured out at this point that that's why she loved him.

And she said, well, maybe relationships aren't meant to last forever. Please don't have kids, then. Don't keep spreading the hurt around.

Finally I said, when I fell in love with you, it meant I put your happiness above my own. And she said, I don't feel that way. Clearly, I guess.

So we have two selfish people running off together. What's going to happen when they argue, and they both say hurtful things, and neither will back down?

I told you I was angry.

So, I'm going to try to be reasonable. She thinks he loves her so much, that he'll put aside his nature, and become a new man for her. Maybe this is possible. I believe he really loves her.

But what happens if, after a couple years, he no longer feels the spark with her, I asked? Is he going to work it out with her, or just leave? Because she used to feel the spark with me, and look what she's doing to me. It's easy to promise forever when you're infatuated. It's harder to follow through later, when you aren't. Then your true nature comes out.

So, I admit that she's selfish. She has flaws. I've always known about them. I still love her.

I think relationships work best when the two people complement each other's flaws, rather than duplicate. If one is more selfish, then fine. It's only when both are selfish that you have a problem. That's the whole point of being a couple to me -- together you make a much better person than you are apart.

Let me tell you about one little thing she did for me, just one. She bought these three rubber duckys, and set them in the shower. Every day she'd move them around, so I'd be surprised by where they were. On the soap. Above the door. In the medicine cabinet. Hiding under the towel.

And sometimes she'd tape little notes to their noses, and they'd say, "I love you" or "You're my merf".

She was like that. She was always thinking about me, always finding little nice things to do for me. When we were apart, it's like we weren't apart, because she'd always have a piece of me that she was thinking of.

And I was always thinking of her. Every time I thought up a joke, I'd file it away to tell to her later. Every time someone did something stupid around me, it became a story to tell her that night, before we went to sleep. Every victory I had my first thought was, I can't wait to tell her. I never kept a journal, because the only person I wanted to discuss all this with was her.

The hurt is constant, now. Everything I do I still think of her, but she doesn't care. She's his. There is just a big hole in me where I used to keep her, all the time. I feel quite literally like she took an elephant gun and put it to my chest and shot away everything of value.

Why go on doing stuff if she's not there to care?

I went over to Karawynn's last night for a while. It was good of her to take me in. I've got a routine, now. Sleep fitfully all night. Call people until I can get out of bed. Struggle into work. Write this wretched journal. Become unbearably lonely. Go home. Try to find someone to talk with until bedtime. Collapse into bed. Try not to think of them together. Finally fall asleep.

My life.

Karawynn was very nice. I've only talked to her three times before but she leant me her shoulder when I was in real trouble. We tried to play Uno but halfway through I remembered that my now ex had specifically complained about our (relatively new) routine of playing Scrabble every night before bed. "It's like we're an old married couple." Well, yeah. I loved that. I loved just spending time with her, alone. Just talking. That's all I ever wanted.

Suddenly I was sick, and couldn't play any more. I also found I couldn't talk about books, since my ex had said that her new man would actually read the books she was interested in, and talk about them with her. I could have done that, I just didn't. My bad.

I guess the problem with getting specifics is it's not really the specifics that are important, she was just trying to establish a pattern. But now they just remind me of my failure with her. Everything reminds me of my failure with her. The leaves aren't raked. She wanted our house to be a nest, and I never did enough. I let things slide. The leaves still need raking.

He's flying in tonight. She's at my house right now packing the last of her stuff, on no sleep. She's pretty grumpy.

She switched hotels, and wouldn't tell me the new number. For my protection. I figured it out, though -- she switched to a romantic hotel, so their reunion could be sweet. So they could celebrate all the pain she caused me in style.

I'm only now starting to think that, although she destroyed my life, she messed hers up worse. Because when you give in to selfishness, it only gets easier and easier. Because she's trading someone loyal for someone more exciting, and that's not what she needs. Because she's always going to remember how much real pain she caused me so she could be potentially happier.

I'm going to keep a box of things that aren't really hers or mine, but were ours. In it go the ducks. In it goes the engagement necklace I bought her.

If she marries him, I'll burn it. If she comes back, I'll dig it out, and when we've learned to trust again, I'll put the necklace back on her myself.

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