Your Ex-lover is Dead
First off, my new medication is working very well. I’m glad I got through the first couple of days without quitting. I feel better than I’ve felt in more than a year. My energy levels are up and I don’t cry all the time. While most of the nasty side-effects seem to have faded, I am still having bizarre, wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-in-a-pool-of-sweat dreams. They are quite unlike the unpleasant dreams I experienced on Celexa, which had extremely clear plot lines and recognizable characters. The Viibryd dreams are more like Salvador Dali paintings. I don’t know who the hell anyone is, for the most part, and everything sort off oozes together with no clear plot. It’s so frustrating. I’m a writer and an avid reader; I need credible characters and a good plot, dammit.
Now, onto the main reason for my post. When I was in the partial psychiatric hospitalization program (i.e., the loony bin, LB for short), I learned about the steps of grief after loss: shock, sorrow, denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance. One doesn’t necessarily cycle through them in that order nor does a person only experience each step once. An individual who has suffered a loss might revisit one, some or all of the steps, or skip a step entirely. Everyone deals with grief differently; there is no formula or cure.
I’ve probably been through most of these steps post-break-up. I mean, I had trouble even categorizing the break-up as a loss. At the very least, I felt that it didn’t belong in the same stratosphere of job loss, death, disabling injury, divorce, even home foreclosure. Does my loss really rank up there with what I deemed “real” losses? And my conclusion, finally, is yes. I lost someone I loved. And may still continue to love, deep down in my currently broken heart.
Anyway, back to the steps. One of the steps I had yet to visit was anger. And I was pissed off that I couldn’t get mad. My friends and family told me what an awful thing he did to me and I should hate the SOB, get mad and throw plates at the wall. But I couldn’t until now, nearly three months later. The anger hit me like a semi-truck yesterday. And it’s fueling this post — and the subsequent letter-to-my-ex-that-I’ll-never-send directly below — because that’s much more productive and less destructive than hurling plates.
Dear Mr. Ex-boyfriend,
Three months ago today is the last time I saw you. The anniversary of September 11. I remember sitting in my living room watching the memorial on TV while you stood in my kitchen making an omelet with the leftover local tomatoes from your birthday dinner the night before.
Yes, the birthday dinner. Remember that? My friend B came with us, to that little gem of a restaurant snuggled along Thames St. in Newport. We lingered over dinner and desserts for 3 hours, talking and laughing and getting the owner (whom we knew) to comp us your birthday dessert, which they brought out with a candle on top. It was a magical, lovely evening. At least for me, perhaps not for you. I’ll never know.
The next day, after you had made your omelet, we walked down to the cafe on the corner for a quick coffee. I wanted to talk about finances and how we would split the costs of a shared living arrangement in your home. You told me that you’d email me a spreadsheet containing bills, the typical monthly amounts, etc., as it was decided that I would handle the household finances (something I was more than happy to do). Otherwise, you didn’t want to talk about “that stuff” on your birthday weekend (RED flag #15). And then I hugged you and kissed you and you left before noon, which you always did during football season — can’t miss those 1pm games, right?
That is the last time I saw you, touched you, smelled you. But I didn’t know that then (do we ever know when the last time will be with anyone?). Later that day, B told me that we were great together and she thought we’d really make it. My dear, very honest friend is rarely wrong about these things. This time she was.
Fast forward 8 days later. Remember that, too? We had argued over the phone that weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday in RI, packing alone. And you were in CT allegedly clearing out and cleaning your house, to make room for me. You went out every night that weekend with friends, culminating in Sunday night beers with a woman who you tended to spend a lot of time with, your ex-intern, whom you still “mentored.” She had been a bone of contention for the past 2 years. I even brought her up to our couples counselor, who told you that you needed to involve me more in your life, including inviting me on your outings with this woman and her boyfriend. Of course, you just smiled and nodded and charmed the pants off said therapist, you sociopath, but you never did invite me out. (RED flag #33.) Why? I don’t want nor expect an answer, I just wanted to ask.
So what precipitated the fight from my end is I had an epiphany as you sat drinking IPA with your ex-intern: I had NEVER met any of the friends you went out with on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Never. And here I was about to move to CT and give up EVERYTHING for you — my friends, my apartment, the city I loved, my vet, my therapist, even my beloved hairdresser (which is very important to us gals) — and I was still being shut out of your life.
On Monday, you said the fight was the final straw. That I had anger issues, and I agree. This red-headed Irish girl has a temper. Not all the time, just when I’m really really really pissed off. And then you broke up with me via effing text that night of September 19, 2011. Classy. After three-and-half years of shuttling back and forth to CT (only every two weeks though, you would never see me on successive weekends RED flag #33). After three-and-half years of weddings and holidays spent together with our families. House-hunting with a realtor in 2010, which you backed out of after we found a house we liked. I should’ve known then. I should’ve left then. But I hung on for 18 months of what amounted to a really depressing relationship.
I suppose I wanted to move in with your because I wanted us to be together in the same town, not 100 miles apart. I thought daily interaction would strengthen our bond, which had been in long-distance mode for years. I don’t agree with people who get married or have babies, thinking it will fix or change things. What a hypocrite I am. I was doing the same thing.
Sigh. The verbal diarrhea is done. It felt good to get that all out. Anyway, the purpose of this letter is this: You need to know that you are not a nice person, nor a good one. You led me on for more than three years, smiling the entire time. You made me starry-eyed with talk of marriage, engagement rings and home with a vegetable garden and chicken coop. You also bamboozled our therapist. You’d nod and agree to things you never had the intention of carrying out, and she believed you. (I guess I shouldn’t feel beat myself up over you fooling me, you also fooled someone with a PhD.) You are a commitment-phobic 42-year-old freak who doesn’t know how to give or receive love. This lacks eloquence, but I feel it is appropriate in this situation: You suck times the power of God times infinity. The white-hot intensity of 1,000 suns fuels my anger over your arrogance and, above all, total dishonesty and lack of respect.
Please get help. Please never do this to another woman. You’ve done it to two of us already (remember, broken engagement a couple of years before I met you? RED flag #4). Who knows how many others you’ve hurt — you were so dishonest with me, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve carved a destructive path through many women’s hearts. Please.never.do.this.to.anyone.again. I doubt you even got this far in the letter, seeing as you have ADHD and are probably simultaneously surfing the Web/watching football…one can only hope you get this far.
All that said, I leave you with this final thought. Actually, I’m stealing the lyrics from Stars’ excellent song Your Ex-lover is Dead.
There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I’m not sorry I met you
I’m not sorry it’s over
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save
Good-bye, Mr. Ex-boyfriend.