17 June 2011

Love and break-ups

No, not my own break-up, at least not a current one. I'm talking about Eva Longoria's recent break-up from her husband, Tony Parker. In the article I read, she had the following advice to pass on.
She told America's InStyle magazine: "One thing I did learn is you don't hold on to the bitterness of the loss; you hang on to the beauty of the love. Remember all the good things. There was a reason you met someone and a reason why you were together."
Exactly! That's exactly what I said when my ex and I broke-up and still say to this day, more than 13 years later. Actually, I've said and thought this about all of my exes, except for one. That one I wish I had never known, even if I did learn some lessons from him, the hard way.

My ex and I had been together for 4 years, living together for the last year. I was 17, almost 18 when we met. He was almost 21 and had just gotten out of the Navy. We hung out constantly for a month before we became an official item, on my 18th birthday.

He was/is a good guy. He was older (all my guys have been), made me laugh, could draw like nothing I had ever seen before and he also wrote poetry. Although, not your typical flowery poetry, this stuff was mostly dark and moody. I honestly can't remember what exactly it was that drew me too him. Other than what I've already mentioned and that his physical traits are they "type" I go for. Just taller than my 5'8'' (173cm), slender and slightly muscular, but definitely not over done, nice arms and a squarish jaw line (at least that is what I see). My ex introduced me to online MUD games (Multi-User Dungeon / Multi-User Dimension). Think Dungeons &Dragons online, but online. He also liked to drink and smoke.

Another thing that defined my ex, even if he didn't admit this to himself until many years later, is the fact that he is bi-polar. I don't mean that he has minor mood swings from happy to sad, he has full on episodes that sometimes last months at a time between the manic and depressive stages. When he's depressive he drinks a lot (more than normal) and does a lot of drawing and writing poetry. During these episodes he has also done bodily harm to himself. He has a starburst pattern of scars on his chest from a pair of scissors after a night of drinking (before I met him). Thankfully he didn't cut himself much when we were together, at least never anything like that.

We had our share of ups and downs. Many of our fights were over his drinking. He'd tell me that he was going to have a drink, just one. That one drink turned into one more drink and then another and another. Pretty soon it was many drinks and he was drunk and a bit aggressive. He never hit me or verbally abused me, but he also wasn't always the most pleasant. I think our first big fight was close to our one year anniversary and if I remember correctly, it had to do with alcohol. I've sometimes thought back to that and wondered why I didn't leave him then. I can't tell you why I didn't leave then, I can only say now that I hadn't learned what I need to learn yet. And hindsight is 20/20.

I can remember one fight in particular. We were at a friend's house and some of the guys left to go get some alcohol. They were gone for ages, I was tired and wanted to go home. Myself and someone else went to go look for them. We caught up with them at some bar. I wasn't 21 yet, so I had to wait until the friend brought him out. When my ex got outside we started arguing. How could he abandon me like that?! Especially when we were only supposed to be there for a short time and then go spend some quality time together. We were standing in the middle of the road (quite busy during the day) yelling at each other. We yelled at the top of our lungs. I even pushed him a few times. You know those two handed shoves to the shoulders. What I really wanted was to punch him. But I didn't. He ended up going his own way and I went home. I probably didn't hear from him for a day or so and I'm sure I was the one who went looking for him afterward.

We went to the local community college together. He lived with his parents, I moved out on my own and also moved back home at some point. We spent a lot of time with each others' families. He actually knew my stepmom before I did. His parents got to like me after they got over the fact that he was dating "the girl with that thing in her nose". After we'd been together for 3 years, we decided to move in together, a couple of hours away from our hometown. Life went on as normal, until our last big fight a few months before our 4th anniversary. Before this fight, I had noticed that I was distancing myself and pulling a way from it all for a while.

My ex was in one of his 'moods'. He had been out drinking with a co-worker (or more, I don't remember) and they got up to some mischief. Illegal mischief at that. And they brought their mischief back to our apartment. A huge pile of it into our living room. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I started freaking out on him, crying, screaming, yelling, crying some more. I cried so hard that night. I cried so hard I was in physical pain. It was one of the stupidest things he had ever done (that I knew about).

I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to get out of there. I had been corresponding with a guy from the MUD my ex and I played on. I decided I was going to take a month long holiday, in Finland! My ex and I had me this guy at the beginning of the year when we was in the US visiting other MUD people. My ex and I sort of broke-up, but in the end he suggested that we just take a break during this time, I agreed. Although, I knew that nothing would be the same and I wasn't sad to be leaving him behind while I went off on my adventure. My ex had also told me at some point earlier in our relationship that if we ever broke-up, that was it. We would be done and over with. No getting back together. I remembered this, even if he didn't.

I went to Finland. Had an amazing time! It was close to midsummer after all and it never got dark. How can a person not like that?! About halfway through my trip, I called up my ex and told him that we were done. When I came home, it would not be as his girlfriend. Where one romantic relationship ended, another started. But that was not the end of my dealings with my ex. At the end of my stay in Finland, my new guy and I flew back to the US (this was prearranged). My ex had just gotten out of the hospital for a collapsed lung. He blamed that one me. We tried talking some things through. He told me he was going to ask me to marry him before all this happened. It was all I could do to not laugh. Seriously?! I think he was just trying to poke me where it hurt. Talk about awkward moments as we all existed in the same 1 bedroom apartment for a while. My new guy and I ended up renting a U-haul at 5pm one evening and moving my stuff back home to my dad and stepmom's house.

My ex was very angry with me for a long time. The few times I talked to him soon after our break-up, he told me how everyone hated me in the town we had moved to for what I did. I was a bit upset that people would judge me so harshly (if it was even true), especially when they didn't hear my side of the story. How could I dare to being a new guy home already and to our shared apartment? (Did he forget this was arranged before I even left the US?) My ex tried to get our mutual friends to be mad at me. True friends didn't take sides. He told me that this new guy and I wouldn't last long and that this was just a rebound fling. And many more hurtful things. I never talked bad about him (even if he did about me) as I knew he was hurting, I was too. But I think more than anything he was shocked and hurt that I finally got enough of a spine and stood up for myself. I didn't take his crap anymore. I broke it of, not him. Not him.

In any case, I've always cared for my ex. I had spent almost 4 years with this guy, I truly cared for him. First and foremost, he was a friend before a boyfriend. I know we were together for as long as we were for a reason. Both of us needed to learn something( or somethings) and that was why we were in that relationship. I did get a letter from my ex a few years later. He told me he was sorry for how he treated me among other things. He was forgiven long before that. I had no bitterness towards him, nor anger. I still care for him and wish him the best in life.