i just remembered what i was going to say

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

The other day one of my most favorite people in the world called to wish me a happy birthday.  I was a stress ball, and I say "ball" as affectionately as possible.  My manuscript for Moose was due today (Woo hoo!  Finished it!), and I didn’t really have time to chat.  But I did anyway.  And there we’re gabbing away, and she’s expressing her current angst about an ex who she’d thought, somehow, would miss her more.  And then we were onto another subject, and I kept saying, "Wait, there’s something I wanted to say," but I couldn’t remember.  I just remembered.

Life isn’t fair.  In the movies with John Cusack it is, but not in ours.  And while this isn’t exactly news–I’ve intellectually known life isn’t fair since kindergarten, when those very words were recited to me almost daily as I stomped around, fuming it simply wasn’t fair that I couldn’t live in Toys R’ Us–it still feels like news.   It’s something we inherently know but never really feel until we’re so compelled, and so surprised by it, that we say it aloud.  "Life just isn’t fair."  It’s not neat.  And we’re still sometimes shocked by it.

I had quite a few romantic relationships, and sometimes, I’d end one thinking, "Oh, he’ll be back."  I wouldn’t necessarily end it so he’d come running back.  It wasn’t always a tactic (though sometimes it was).  And when he had the opportunity to possibly express that he did want to work things out, the opportunity to stand outside my window blaring a boom box of Peter Gabriel’s "In Your Eyes," and he didn’t, I’d mourn the loss and almost feel like we were breaking up again.  Because it was a realization that I’d still been waiting, hoping, and now I couldn’t anymore.  This was real now.  And it wasn’t fair. 

I always somewhere deep down believed Gabe would wake up one day and realize he’d made the biggest mistake of his life.  And when I stopped believing this fantasy, I sold myself another one.  That someone would treat him just as he’d treated me.  That’s all I wanted.  I wanted his own behavior to be served up to him.  And in these fantasies, he’d say to himself, "I never should have done that to her."  Sometimes he’d even admit it.  Aloud.  Maybe not to me, but to someone.  Or he’d be John Willoughby, all alone on a hilltop, left to live a shallow existence.  But that’s a fairytale.  Life isn’t that just, I don’t think. 

Instead, I think people convince themselves that their own actions really were okay.  I’m willing to bet Gabe never told any subsequent girlfriends the truth about his life.  Not just how I saw them, or how he wanted to see them.  I’m willing to wager he wouldn’t even mention the facts of any of it.  Just the facts.  I wonder how he’d go about explaining it to a fiance, when one day they go for their marriage license and she learns he was once married.  "Just something I did when I was young."  He might go as far as explaining I’d written a book about it.  Perhaps using the words, "totally deluded," or "psycho."  Perhaps he’d glob on the word "whore."  No–his mother would do that for him, all throughout the country club (I’ve actually heard that this happened).  Who knows.  My point is, I’m sure he, and his entire family, justified it in their own minds.  Maybe even thinking I’d get mine.  That one day someone would write about me.  Which actually doesn’t frighten me because I believe I’m very candid about all of me, the good and bad.  But like I said, it never comes out even or fair.  The guy you think will one day wake up and realize what a mistake he made, usually never does.  It’s just not the way it works.

Comments

  1. Exactly! And if, by chance, he does have a brief thought of remorse, he stifles it and no one ever knows. I can only find comfort in karma. Of course, holding ill will could effect my own karma. Sigh. I sometimes think we're doomed to relive these relationships until everyone gets it right.

  2. Really really awesome post. I think most women have that fantasy that the man she once loved/desired/had amazing-staircase-sex-with may one day wake and wonder why he screwed up his life with such an amazing women.

    I'm just guessing so anyway.

  3. Could you imagine if we didn't have the comfort of karma? Knowing (or thinking) that the universe is going to take care of that person who did you wrong is not only soothing it helps you move on. If I thought that my ex (who pulled a Gabe, just without the baby, oh and the marriage) was going to go on and be happy and meet someone and get married and live happily ever after, it would have taken much longer to move on. It helped to think that every girl after me is going to cheat on him…and let's not forget the STDs he deserves. Do you or did you ever wish that for Gabe?

  4. Also I forgot to say (haha) I do wonder how his mother could ever call you a whore? Or better yet why when calling you a whore to whomever she's speaking with no one ever says, "oh so Gabe caught her cheating?" Then she would either lie or say/stammer "well… no…but…" I mean just as its shocking that life isn't fair, its really shocking that people just live in thier own worlds and bullshit and no one ever calls them on it. I mean really. I believe her quote was "We didn't teach him this, Stephanie" and she calls you a whore? Really.

  5. Do you think/know whether he reads your blog?

    I ran into an ex-boyfriend I hadn't seen in years (in front of Macy's in Herald Square, of all places), who hadn't really treated me well. I never had the courage to tell him then. It took me almost a year to find the courage to end it. I even tried to spare his feelings, not really delving into why I was breaking it off. When I ran into him again, I was polite. I tried to be a bigger person – "oh we were so young, I don't even think about it". And it makes me sick that I still really never told him what a terrible person he was. I let him brag to me about his wife (and it would have been so easy to cut him down), and I downplayed my own engagement (not wanting him to think that I cared what he thought). I should have torn him a new one, right in the middle of the Macy's flower show, but I didn't. I played nice and I regret it. So maybe life is only as fair as we make it.

  6. Stephanie, thank you for this post. This is exactly what I've been struggling with lately. It's so hard to let go of the idea that someday he'll suddenly realize what a terrible mistake he made by letting you go or hurting you horribly. Even if you don't miss HIM at all, feel completely grateful that he is out of your life, wouldn't take him back if he begged on his hands and knees, the feeling that he SHOULD want you back or feel some kind remorse lingers somehow. As though part of one's self-worth still depended on whether he misses you, or misses the good things that you added to his life. I hate that I can feel that way.

    Maybe it comes from wanting to feel special and unique, and not dispensable and/or replaceable.

  7. I just read your book this weekend. I was wondering exactly that – how does he explain to subsequent mates what a sh1t he was.

    I wonder the same thing about my now-ex brother in law, who left my sister for their kids' preschool teacher.

  8. I guess there are two sides to each story, and when we're not around, then the other side is the truth for those who are. I think about this a lot with an ex-friend of mine–really the only girlfriend that I've ever completely severed ties with. I know what I tell people happened when they ask why we're not friends anymore. What I don't know is what she tells people. It's so strange to have your life explained without you being able to interject, edit for accuracy, etc.

  9. While part of me echoes the karma & universe part, the other part of me firmly believes that people who treat other people badly get it back without any extranormal intervention.

    Using Gabe as an example, do you really think that somewhere between cheating on you and now he's become a fine, upstanding human being? Or is he more than likely — being a few years older — even more of a shit? A bigger shit (eww!) with a probably crazier mother. While I'm sure he hasn't once thought "I wish I hadn't lost Stephanie," I'm equally sure he hasn't been enjoying fulfilling relationships with wonderful women. Nor will he in the future, more than likely. You'll never have that confirmed for you, nor will appearances give you any hint, but it stands to simple reason.

    While life certainly isn't fair, it's usually logical.

  10. I agree. If you want closure, some sort of poetic justice, find it within yourself. Bad things happen (to good and bad people). All you can do is make the things that happen into positive changes in yourself.

  11. Ok, Stephanie, here's how life can be considered fair – you didn't end up w/ Gabe in the long run; you married a much better guy for you – someone so far above and beyond the kind of person Gabe could ever dream of being; you have 2 beautiful babies, you've built a beautiful life together, and you have a successful career. You absolutely went through a lot to get to this place, but what would really make life unfair is if you were stuck in a horrible marriage to Gabe. If you never got out and never changed your life and made it what it is today… Now, that would be unfair. You are very lucky and blessed, as you know. Yes, you've worked hard to get where you are, and you've had lots of struggles along the way, including all the rough things you've gone through this yr, but at least you now have Phil by your side. Someone asked if Gabe reads your blog. I hope he does so he can see how much he has lost and how much better off you are w/o him. And, as for his mother, you're lucky to be rid of her too!

  12. I think that's what I'd struggle with the most with writing about a past relationship, that Im pretty much killing any chance of it ever happening again by writing about it.

    You posted a dream a while back about seeing Gabe at a basketball game, and his mom was there? Or his mom came into it? Or some shit like that! :) I cant go back through to find it but when you said you had a dream like that I wondered then if you ever still had thoughts of wanting him back, or missing him, or just wanting to see him grovel (especially if you never received closure if that is the case).

    Barbara E, you always crack me up. shittier (eww!)

  13. Fortunately I no longer live where my exes do.

    In my mind, they are forever regretting and mourning my loss. If they've moved on to younger and prettier, I hope I never know.

  14. Funny- My husband and I talk about this all the time. About his ex-wife. From everything I've heard about her she's a total weirdo and she hated my mother-in-law. She pretty much feels about my MIL the way you feel about "Rome". I get along fine with my MIL but she also learned her lesson from what happened the last time.

    We wonder if the ex-wife ever takes any responsibility for her part in the bad marriage and divorce. We wonder if now that she's been on jdate for five years she finally thinks she had a good catch. We wonder what she tells her dates about why she was divorced by age 25. We wonder if she feels now that she might have been wrong on any level and feel bad how stuff went down then…

    Just a quick anecdote- I ran into the ex-wife in Loehmanns in July, coincidentally on what would have been her wedding anniversary with my husband (and almost a year since we've been married). I'd never met her in person- we didn't even know if she knew he was remarried. I got so nervous that I asked if her name was xxx, she whipped around like she had horns and fangs and said, "WHY- WHO ARE YOU?!". So, I just sputtered, "Well, you were married to my husband- I never forget a face. Sorry". She just gave me a dirty look and she and her mom walked out.

    So- we think she's still angry and not taking any responsibility. If the roles were reversed that day, I would have been beyond nice- just to be the bigger person. If she felt any remorse, she probably wouldn't be that mean to a stranger. When she initially barked at me, she didn't even know who I was yet.

  15. I know, I know I know. I've been thinking around this for a long time. Will he meet his day of reckoning, how, who will hurt him, which quiet moment, which random thing that reminds him of me. At what point do you stop and just sort of glance back? And as much as I think you're right, and we don't face ourselves even when we are taught these lessons… still I think there might be a moment. Maybe. May…be.

  16. I dunno, T — Loehmann's can put anyone in a bad mood; did you approach her in the communal fitting room? If so, you deserved to be barked at. Woof.

    Julia – thanks once again for the shout out :)

  17. Didn't have time to read most of these comments (I will get back to them the ones I did read were good) and I think this is one of your best posts. So universally true. And we all, ALL hope/think like this even when we are happily married. So..that must mean that the guys think the same about us women? I mean we are not that different; we all want to be loved/adored or at least missed.

    And Manic Mom, so true what you wrote.
    Congrats on the milestone finishing the second manuscript and I hope this finds Lucas doing ok right now…

    I need to forward this to a few friends. Very insightful!

  18. The thing is, his mistake is your gift. If he didn't realize what he had, it wasn't right. Women need to figure out how to demand being treated right earlier on. It sucks to realize you never should've stayed as long as you did or put up with as much as you did. We're way more willing to make excuses for a guy and be treated poorly then they are for us. Instead of looking for that validation of his "revelation" that he made a mistake, we should put that energy into validating ourselves. anyway…

  19. ohhhh…so timely for me. I ran into my ex husband after not laying eyes on him in, ohhhh, 15 years (?), this past Friday.

    That wasn't the last time I heard from him though. Noooo. THAT was about 11-12 years ago, 2 weeks before I re-married when I received a letter – THE letter – absolving me of all guilt in our failed marriage and telling me I had, after all, been a good wife (no joke, mutha'effer!). I read the letter, maybe shed a tear, read it to my husband to be, ripped it to shreds and never looked back.

    And after running into him Friday, and the awkward smalltalk, I'm not missing a thing.

  20. Do you wonder if Gabe reads the blog? Have you kept up with him at all, do you know where he is, if he's remarried, etc? Do you even want to know?

    Would his apology mean as much now that you have a new life as it would have a few years ago? Do you still want an apology after so much time has passed? Do you even need it?

  21. When I was very,and I do mean very, young I fell totally and completely in love and gave myself heart soul and body. Our lust knew no bounds. I never saw life without him. After a few years he dropped me cold for a "nice" girl. I was completely devastated. For decades my memory of him was through the young eyes that had loved him. So one day, forty or so years later I thought we should say hello before we die. We had lunch. It seems the nice girl he married didn't like sex and wanted to schedule it, there could be no spontanaity. He also told me how "hot" his daughter's body is. My God, I had three daughters. The thought he could have been their father sickens me. So in a strange was he got his just desserts. And I escaped disaster worse than what I had.

  22. Being a fat girl growing up, I dealt with a lot of guys who were just mean to me (up until high school) and then after I passed all of the childish stuff, dated men who treated me badly because I let them. Oh, low self esteem. So, now… I've lost most of the weight and all through the process what motivated me was thinking that I'd be sure to run into certain people just so they could see and be sorry. Now, I don't care. It isn't about them anymore. It's about me and who cares what they do? They can become the next president of the USA or they could die in a fire. All the same to me.

    Recently, the boy who was the rudest to me in highschool… he found me on myspace. Asked me if I remembered him. At the end of the message was, "P.S. you look so hot." And he got fat. And he married a fat girl. Karma?

  23. So YOU'RE who I kept hearing about at Crest Hollow! Kidding, kidding. Any time I catch part of one of those shows on Maury where the girl was a total dork picked on by all in school and is now grown up and brilliant and successful and beautiful I wish that were me, flaunting how great I am to either the guys I had crushes on or the guys who tormented me. Why can't life be a movie?!

  24. I am printing this. And I will leave multiple copies around the place to remind myself.

    You've put into words what I couldn't and have said it all in a few paragraphs. Thank you.

  25. I had a toxic relationship which just about finished me off. I eventually scraped myself out of it. A few months later the ex figured out what he'd lost and came begging. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to look at this person and say … "No. Never, ever again". It wasn't joyful. It was more relief. Which was absolutely liberating actually.

  26. Barbara E.- No- it was on her way out the door. She looked right at me and I just couldn't help myself. She's just so weird, I couldn't help myself. But, you're right- if it was the communal dressing room, I would have deserved her satanic response. We were all fully clothed at the time it went down.

  27. Hey Stephanie–your comment about Bra Nazi at my blog really got me thinking. I'm posting about it later.

    Thanks for stopping by MM!

  28. I always thought my ex was pining (and maybe he is/was) until he and his gf had a little girl. It wasn't that I ever considered resuming the relationship; I just wanted to be the one thing he couldn't get back, after all the crap he put me through. ANd he did at one time feel that way so I held onto that and enjoyed his suffering (or so I thought). Ultimately I say why let that poison in your brain. It doesn't do any good and the reality is they have no clue and probably wouldn't care what you thought anyways… That's why it ended right? It was always such an ego boost to see him out and listen to him fish for details about my life and hint that he missed me. TOo late sucka. We don't even know each other anymore, if we ever did.
    And Stephanie- he is totally kicking his own ass everyday when he opens your blog up. YOu know it. And his mom is just jealous of how fing awesome you really are. I hope Lucas is doing well and that you all are as well. My little boy and I will be praying for you all tonight… when we talk to his Papaw who just went to Heaven… You never think about these things when you find out you're having a baby. HOw to explain death… ugh being a mom is tough.

  29. You know what Steph? You did get YOURS. Three times over in Phil, Lucas & Abigail. Those three precious gifts would never have been made possible if Gabe wouldn't have fucked up. You're awesome and amazing, Gabe just sucks at life.

  30. *I* have decided that until I'm in the right relationship, all the others are wrong. Not insignificant, mind you, just not "right."

    My friends and I call it "having hand." We just need that upper hand to keep our dignity intact. Immature? Perhaps, but it is what it is.

    The guy with whom I share my most important relationship, despite the fact that I knew it couldn't be (which is why I gave him back the ring), called me after he was married and his wife was pregnant. Ouch. But he needed to do it. I understand. He needed to have hand. What I have is the knowledge that what we shared is unto itself and, even if he is married, they don't necessarily share what we had. Delusional on my part? Perhaps. But I know that once a heart has been touched, it remains touched…when there's a scent in the air or a song on the radio, the touch is felt again.

    It killed me to know they had a child. They shared something we didn't approach having. But reality kicked in. A kid isn't a panacea, which I already knew, but it hit home when he told it to me.

    Hand, it's all about hand. And you can give it to yourself. Maybe it's through fantasy of what he'd say if you bumped into each other or through actual interaction, but you can always get what you need, so long as you give it to yourself.

  31. This is, in my view, one of the few times where the gut can go wrong: when our instinct tells us to wait for someone to wake up. Instead of waiting, might we perhaps simply make it easy on ourselves and wake up in their stead?

    Somehow I find that this post sort of fits right in with the post about "Wendy Warner". You'd think people "get it", at least that they'll "get it" someday, somehow, and yet you're so very right – they usually don't. I wonder why. At least waking up means that someone would have to admit that they were wrong. Not wrong in relation to some impersonal fact, like when the treaty of Versailles was signed, but wrong in relation to someone else, who was painfully right about the general state of affairs, someone who "got it". Most people are way too proud and insecure to go there, because it would be akin to admitting their own inferiority and giving credit to someone they wouldn't want to give credit to, even if that person isn't anywhere around to rub their nose in it.

    … which really leaves us with little else to do than shrug, quickly, and move on. Waiting only gnaws on us and not the one who sleeps. Exceedingly hard to do, but as I've recently learned, that doesn't mean it isn't the right way to go.

    Thank you, Stephanie, for being so real, no matter what.

  32. I think we fool ourselves into believing that if they realized how they hurt us, if they cared, or if they felt the pain we felt . . it would make us feel better. I think that is the biggest lie of all. Reality is that it still hurts just as much. We still have to move on. We still need to forgive and let go in order to be free from it.

  33. Although in most situations I would agree… I was fortunate enough to have my ex (who btw royally screwed me over, very similar to the Gabe situation) call one day out of the blue and tell me "I just want you to know, in case you ever wonder, that I do know what I did, and I do know what I lost." Instant gratification but still no closure. But then a year later, I get an email saying (and I'm paraphasing with this one) "Everything that I thought I wanted instead of you, I've got now. I thought I'd be happy and I was wrong."

    Does this excuse his behavior?? Nope. Does it make the memory sting any less?? No. But it did make me hate him a little less… that's something, right??

  34. Sometimes it's better to believe in things like Karma, payback, he'll get his,or whatever to get through the end and aftermath of a relationship. There's always the hope that they'll miss you someday, even if it's 'just a little'. With some ex's, they do. They'll hear something about you through mutual friends that conjures up a myriad of memories for them, even if it's for a moment. Some are missing something fundamentally that precludes them from feeling anything, either way, about their past. They don't wish you any ill,they just remain indifferent, flat. You could win an Oscar,a Pulitzer, be married to the hottest UN peacekeeper in the news and it won't matter.
    What matters is that you've moved on..for you. The energy you might want to put to 'showing him' your accomplishments and the 'who' you are now can be such a crap shoot. He may not be the least interested.
    I'd find it hard to believe that Gabe hasn't taken the occasional look at your blog to see where you're at. Guys that narcissitic can't help themselves.
    In your case, Stephanie, living well, and blogging about it, is truly the best revenge.

  35. Thanks for that. Sometimes the truth hurts. Whoever said "what goes around comes around" – lied. I need that posted on every billboard, sign, computer pop-up, etc…just to be reminded that he's not coming back, doesn't see what a total jerk he was, and continues to believe that making empty promises, lying, cheating, leaving, really isn't that horrible of a thing to do after all. I know that I dodged a bullet, but it helps to be reminded of it. So, while he may not get what's coming to him in his romantic life yet, I do find it amusing that he leaves a woman with a law degree to go back to what/who he always claimed was his miserable existence with someone else and then gets slapped w/a huge lawsuit concerning his job. Karma? Isn't it ironic?

  36. this is so perfect for my best friend's life right now. i just forwarded this to her. thanks, as always, for the insight.

  37. Love the post and the comments…

    May I just say that Say Anything might possibly contain the world's greatest movie scene, and song, together?

    Sigh.

  38. WHOA! this hit so close to home for me…. i have been going through a nasty divorce for the past 2 years!! (almost as long as we were married!) i was the one that chose to leave, and somehow it was ALL my fault. he would never admit aloud that it was HIS "usage" that drove us apart because people in his family didn't do that. well, at least they didn't admit to it. so, here i am 2+ years later, still the "whore" that broke up the happy marriage. (meanwhile i just started dating not too long ago, while he started dating, and is still dating the same girl, 2 months after i left) i would looooove to see his family's faces if he ever did admit out loud the truth, THE REAL TRUTH. i use to laugh at people that said "what goes around, comes around", but now i am a firm believer in it. look at the wonderful family you have!! it gives me hope!!!!

  39. I went through a shitty relationship once. More than once, to be honest. And everytime I got out, usually just by the skin of my teeth, I did the typical, 'Maybe he'll want me back some day…' routine.

    But time passes, and the farther I get from that break up or break down, depending on how you look at it, the less I care. I don't give a shit if he wants me back. I don't care if he realizes he treated me poorly. I could care less if he thinks he made a mistake. He is a part of my past, and I'd like to leave him there.

    Spending time wanting him to suffer the way you did, or to realize he's an ass it pointless. It's a waste. And wondering what his side of the story entails is fruitless. You can't corner every person he's talked to and tell them your side of the story. Besides, if they are smart and mature people, they can be objective and realize that there are always two sides.

    Leave him where he is with his life and get on with yours.

  40. This really hit home for me, too. My first love was so powerful- it changed me deeply. He ended up breaking up with me to go back to his super jealous, super possessive ex. It broke my heart into little tiny pieces then, and even now, nine years later, it STILL hurts a bit to think about.

    He and the ex (who is now his wife; they had an "oops" child about a year after our breakup and married a year after that… we were all young) had three kids by the time he was 23. I do know that is NOT the life I wanted, and I'm so glad it isn't mine.

    I still "what if" about him sometimes, though. My best friend emailed him a few years ago (they were friends) and mentioned how I'd love to hear from him- he wrote back that he didn't think it was a good idea because it would make his wife very angry and he didn't want to deal with the fallout from that. Ouch.

    I saw a relative of his once, years ago, and she told me she wished it had been me he'd ended up with. I just smiled and said "It's okay." I really do wish him the best, because we were great friends before we were anything more. Losing his friendship is one of my only real regrets.

    On the one hand, I hope he is happy and fulfilled, because I do still care for him… on the other hand, I hope he wonders about what could have been, just like I do.

  41. I think we all have to live with the fact that other people don't always "get theirs" for whatever it is they may have done. We should all probably think our lucky stars that this doesn't happen, or I'd be willing to be bet we'd all be "getting ours" at some point. I just try to remember that I'm far from perfect and probably deserve my own visit from the god of fairness.

  42. Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

  43. So I'm wondering, is it ever worth it to go back and tell him how awful he was to you – how selfish he was, to put his shortcomings out there, when the whole relationship you never told him? Or better to let him go along thinking he was a good guy and it was me who wasn't enough for him?

  44. Don't worry — even if they told the country clubbers that you were psycho and deluded, the clubbers probably pretended to agree with them to their faces but then talked about them behind their backs even more.

    I don't know if people ever see it "your way" but that doesn't mean that they don't endure humiliation, hurt, etc. They just do it "their way."

  45. Well, I had the dream come true. I had broken up with the love of my life because of his selfishness and inability to be intimate (emotionally). I was devasted and mourned for a long time. NINE months later he shows up at my door. At that time, I was dating someone else. After much internal struggle and endless discussion with friends (it truly was a horrible time–torn between two lovers is NOT a fun place to be), I decided to go back with my ex. I rented my condo and moved in with him. Exactly two and a half years later, I am moving out. He may have missed me; he may have regretted losing me, but the truth of the matter is he was still the same selfish, detached person. And now I have to go through the painful breakup all over again. I vow this time to be strong, to look to the future, to not dwell. So if your ex comes back, take a good look at why you left in the first place–some things never change.

  46. Your comment about wishing the same kind of pain on your ex resonates with me. Perhaps it's cliche to quote Dr. Phil (whom I love), but I don't care. Whenever he's counseling a couple, he always says of the injured party to the injuring party, "S/he's never going to get over this until s/he knows that you understand the pain you caused, the devastation you brought about, and the trust you've shattered."

    I feel that way about my ex. I really loved him and I hated to leave our relationship, even when it became necessary. And I'm realizing just how much lately I wish he'd experience the same pain he caused me, if for no other reason than he would know what it felt like.

    Is that petty? Yes and no, I think. The petty part is that I want him to suffer a bit, sure. But the more personal part is that I want him to understand the reasons for it, because I want there to be a reason other than that "life just isn't fair." Even though that's the only reason that answers any questions I have/had about what happened between us.

    Thanks for writing this, Stephanie.

  47. My boyfriend of nine years, the guy who said he wanted to spend his life with me, broke up with me at the beginning of the summer. Being totally self-absorbed, he could not handle me going to law school at night while working full time because I wasn't spending enough time catering to his ego. At least, that's what his excuse was. In reality, he just couldn't make it to the altar for a variety of commitment and emotional reasons. However, he still insists and always will insist that the problems in the relationship were all my fault. While I don't hold myself entirely blameless, I can safely say that he, too, contributed to the relationship's demise, but he will NEVER see that.

    Immediately after the breakup, 2 things kept me going:
    1. Visualizing him as an old man, sitting in a chair in front of a tv, waiting for someone to come and change his diaper; and
    2. Knowing that I will never have to see his mother again.

    I read "Straight Up and Dirty" as I sat on a plane in July, alone, and headed to Antigua by myself. I really think it helped me get through that dark period (thank you, Stephanie), so much so that I have recommended it to a couple of people I know going through some terrible divorces. I am now really looking forward to the day when I'm so happy with my life that I don't care if he "gets his." After all, the opposite of love is apathy.

    Of course, if I ran into his mother on the street, I would still want to throw something at her.

  48. Oh, Barbara E. how I love your comments.

    I met up with an ex in Boston. I was there on business, he was in medical school. While he wasn't a great love, he did break my heart in a million little pieces when we parted. So, seeing him in my hotel room door was my opportunity to let him know how I felt. I didn't have to say much. My body language said it all and I got the sweetest closure any woman would ever want to hear. "I didn't realize how much I hurt you and I'm sorry."

    I don't think he regretted our breakup, but the apology made me feel that he at least regretted how he treated me. And, really, that was all I needed to hear.

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