Tag Archives: heartache

The One That Got Away

For some reason this phrase has been on my mind lately. Not for any sensible reason. I don’t feel that it defines me at all to anyone and I can’t think of an ex I let “get away.” I’ve also never heard anyone I know personally use these words. The only place they seem to come up is in fiction, most specifically romantic comedies. And fairy tales. (Probably in romance novels as well, but I’ve never really read any.) Is it a construct? An overly romanticized concept that might move a plot line along but never actually happens in reality?

Along with the absence of the phrase in my friends’ love lives, I can’t recall any of them even referring to an ex in any sort of overly-regretful way. It seems most exes are exes for good (if there is such a thing) or at least sensible reasons. When the topic comes up onscreen, however, the characters converse; they discuss “the one who got away” in glowing terms: “Cindy was so amazing. Why did you let her go?” Or “Max was so great. What happened to him?”

With the somewhat current usage of (reliance on?) the vaguely annoying (and oddly powerless) “Everything happens for a reason,” we can all write off the ending of any relationship as the best for both people. As was recently pointed out to me by one of my detractors (critics?), I never refer to any of my past, less than successful (failed?) relationships. (Well, the possible exception could be “Scared Sexless,” from ages ago. I ‘m sure my detractors will hate that post, too, and find some way to twist my words into misandry.) I’m not much of a regretter. While I don’t subscribe to the “everything happens for a reason” school of thought, I do believe that my relationships ended in a rather mutual fashion. In other words, both of us reached the conclusion that things weren’t working at more or less the same time. So while there were varying degrees of heartache and angst, feelings of love on the part of both parties slipped away as opposed to being abruptly cut off. (Obviously these exes may disagree. You are all free to contact them and ask.) So none of my friends have ever wondered how I let any of these guys “get away.” And I doubt any of their friends have harassed them by saying “I can’t believe you let Abby ‘get away’.” Of course, no one says this to the dumped one, only to the (perceived) dumper. It would be callous to ask “Why the hell did you accept that breakup?” And I can’t imagine anyone saying “You deserved to be dumped.”

But man, in the movies, we’re always pulling for our protagonist as his/her exes’ friends give him/her hell for letting said protagonist “get away.” They work behind the scenes to ensure that the star-crossed lovers will ultimately be reunited. And we know that, in the end, our underdog will eventually get his/her girl/guy. Unfortunately life is far messier and, while there are plenty of happy endings, they usually don’t come about in a tidy, 90-minute way.

Yet I find myself fantasizing about my exes’ friends asking them,  “Why did you let Abby get away?” I can’t realistically believe that being reunited with any of my past “protagonists” would be a good idea. Or that the relationship would be any more successful now than it was previously. Could it be because if life were a romantic comedy, everything would be resolved in a neat 90 minutes? And that I’d be guaranteed my happily ever after? Maybe if I grow my hair long enough I can drop it out the window and a handsome prince will climb up and rescue me…

Emotionally Trying Friday

I took the weekend off. I’ve been regarding this blog as my job, since I don’t really have one. And I needed a rest. It was a very peculiar and somewhat trying Friday, followed by a bunch of fun on Saturday. This is gonna be a long one…in fact, I’m gonna break it into two separate posts…I’ll start with my emotionally draining Friday the 13th.

I had lunch plans with The Poet. We’d been exchanging involved emails discussing complex issues that I thought would be best communicated about live, so I was looking forward to it. We dug into the deep stuff right away. I told him about my “date” the previous evening with another Ashley Madison man. Yeah, I’d “retired” from that but this guy was already “in the pipeline,” so I’d agreed to meet him. I shared with The Poet how this guy, still married, had already had a three-year relationship but remained with his wife. I was baffled. We covered a lot of difficult territory, most of which is so personal that there’s no point in sharing it here. We briefly touched on coincidences and the concept of “there are no accidents.” Strange… On our previous lunch date I was almost in tears a few times. This particular day it was The Poet whose eyes welled up. As we parted, he said I’d given him a lot to think about.

By the end of our lunch, and a conversation that continued in the park, I was pretty exhausted. But I had made plans to meet a DPW friend visiting NYC. I was a little leery about getting together with the guy because he works on the same crew as my ex. It makes me uncomfortable to let people into my life who might share information about me with him. Not that it matters, I suppose, since he’s let me know that he reads this blog. Which in itself is creepy. Anyway. You, dear readers, know what I’ve been going through, at least over these past few months I’ve been writing this…Bloggers don’t have too many secrets, I guess.

My friend Sandra came over around 6. “What does this ex-boyfriend of yours look like?” she asked, completely out of the blue. I have a few pix on my hard drive and showed those to her, then said, “Oh, there are some more recent ones on Facebook.” When I clicked on those I thought it odd that he was no longer “tagged” in the photos but figured he must’ve “un-tagged” himself. Whatever.

Sandra and I went to 2A, where my DPW friend joined us for drinks and popcorn. A few beers in, he flashed his phone at me: an email from my ex to their crew list. “Why are you showing me that?” I asked, puzzled. “I thought you guys were okay,” he said, quickly putting his phone back in his pocket when he saw the look on my face. “No, we aren’t okay,” I told him. He immediately apologized and generally felt lousy. Over the next few hours a rather ugly and disappointing story came out.

This man had been seeing a woman for over a year. She and my ex had been “hanging out” recently, but the ex assured my friend, “You’ve got nothing to worry about, dude,” and claiming, “There’s nothing going on.” A week before he left on this trip that brought him to NYC, he took this woman to a party attended by many of his crew friends, including my ex. She had spent the night before with my friend, at his place. Within an hour of arriving at the party, my friend wondered where his date had gone. The woman at whose house the party was being held said, “I’ll show you.” This guy followed her, along with a few other fellow crew members, as she opened a bedroom door to reveal my ex fucking this guy’s date. Apparently everyone found this to be most amusing, since they all laughed.

Okay. I know I’ve been asking this a lot lately, but WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE? How many horrible things are wrong with this picture? Aside from my personal feelings about it all — and, hey, I have NO claims on my ex….none — as one human to another, who would do such a shitty thing? Lie to a friend. Fuck his date. In the middle of a party. And the woman who led the guy to see this? What on earth was she thinking? Is humiliating a friend some new sort of sport? Everyone who laughed? Is the embarrassment of someone you care for funny? It all makes me ill.

Well, having received his news I was, surprisingly, not nearly as upset as I would’ve thought I’d be. I’m already staring down a summer where I’m assuming I’ll have to see this dreaded ex at three meals a day. It will now be easier. It made me wonder, though, about his photos being “un-tagged” so I checked Facebook. He is not only no longer my “friend,” he has “blocked” me. I feel like a 12-year-old even talking about this but Facebook seems to encourage junior high-like behavior. Blocking is a pretty aggressive move and, in this case, was totally unnecessary, as I began “hiding” his posts, so I wouldn’t see any of them, way back in November. I hadn’t looked at his page for months. Again, whatever.

My friends are in agreement that this news — and the ex’s rather douchebaggy behavior — was a gift, a first step down the road toward finally falling out of love with him. I’ve repeatedly tried to be his friend, only to be shown, sadly, how lousy he is at being a friend. This skeezy scenario only reinforces my opinion. It won’t be pretty having to see the guy but at least being able to hold that tableau in my mind any time I think I still have feelings for him will be a big help. Onward!

Ow! Those M&Ms Are Killing Me!

Last week, while I was laid out with the flu, I was watching a lot of television and one particular news story really grabbed my attention…by the heart strings: Researchers from the University of Michigan, Columbia University and the University of Colorado conducted a study that shows our brains register physical and emotional pain in almost identical ways. The results of their research were published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The story aired on all the talk shows and TV  news outlets and appeared in print everywhere from the LA Times to the Daily News to The Brain Health, many with the headline “Love Hurts…No, it REALLY Hurts.” It proves what anyone who’s ever experienced a painful breakup already knows: rejection hurts.

In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of the recently brokenhearted and found that pain inflicted in the lab and looking at pictures of their exes registered almost identically in the brain, notably in an areas previously associated solely with physical pain. I don’t even need to see a photographic likeness! I can attest to wincing every time I see my ex’s screen name. In fact, here’s a whole list of things that give me the same heart-wrenching twinge:

Peanut M&Ms
Arizona Green Tea Iced Tea
Full Moons
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Miller Beer
Beignets
Mexican Dresses
Sand Dollars
Kayaks
Ford F-450s
Old VW Bugs
Cords
“Do You Realize,” or just about anything by The Flaming Lips
Anything by Portishead
“Umbrella” by Rhianna
“I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry …”the taste of her cherry chapstick…”
“Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake …”take it to the bridge!” …
“New York” by Jay Z. and Alicia Keys
“Chasing Pavement” by Adele
“Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
(I’ll keep updating this as these occur to me…)

Sigh. This list could go on… Obviously, I’ll be looking forward to further findings, like drugs that might suppress those feelings of pain in the brain!