I Erased an Entire Relationship
You’re never too old to learn the strength of your spirit. To have it tested and to falter and fall and climb back up. To take one on the chin.
If I’ve learned one thing it’s that life always has one more punch left in her. She is relentless. She is quick. And she is indiscriminate.
I’ve had three men walk away from me in my life. I was kind of known for the pre-emptive strike in my early dating years, a move I learned much later in life looks a lot like self sabotage. The last time it happened, it was the first relationship after my first divorce.
It was absolutely going nowhere. It was passing time with someone while wandering down a dead end road. Still, it stung like hell when I got the Dear Jane email on a humid September evening while out of town at a conference in Nashville. I thought being dumped via email was about the most painful way to be left. Of course, keep in mind that technology has advanced since 2007.
This time, I found out I was dumped when I came back from dinner on a business trip to find I had been blocked on all social media by the man I was seeing.
I must say it sucks horrifically. It sucks 8276 times worst if you are a severe overthinker. Absent information, I will fill in the blanks and it will not be pretty. He knew this about me. The result is soul crushing. And maddening.
So the crazy train starts down the tracks throwing unanswered questions in the air like little puffs of steam coming off the engine. The first question, notably, was, “What the fucking hell?” What was he thinking? Did something happen he couldn’t tell me? Was he okay? Did he meet someone else? Was there always someone else and she found out?
So I called and I texted because, really, you can’t do this and not expect the receiving end isn’t going to lose their shit. I got one brief text back. So, I knew he was okay. He just didn’t want to respond. He did not acknowledge the social media banning.
Here’s another thing I’ve learned: The crazy train always derails. Either you can go down with it or you can jump off and get away before impact.
The hard part is that it requires you run as fast and as far as your legs can carry you and this is hard when you’re tired and you have no idea in which direction to run.
It also involves very quickly dealing with a whole myriad of shit you don’t want to deal with. 18 different emotions at a time: anger, sadness, shame, embarrassment, despair, confusion, abandonment, hopelessness. Notice NONE of these are remotely positive. But that comes too because the farther and harder you run from the crazy train, the easier it is.
I heard from him in the morning when I got a text about needing to rip the bandaid off and one of us had to do it. Our relationship was long distance and what it boils down to is that he wasn’t built for that and wanted out. Apparently, right then. With no communication to me about it. He just bailed.
We texted a few more times as I tried to make sense of this. Nothing made sense. It defied logic. I stared at my phone. I said it out loud to myself. He’s gone.
I knew if I was going to get off the crazy train I would have to say that dozens more times until it sank in and acceptance grew out of it. Like big black fruit pit you bury deep but it cracks open and life springs out.
And you just have to let it grow.
I talked to one of my girlfriends who told me not to worry because I was a strong, badass, motherfucking woman. Except I didn’t feel like a strong, badass, motherfucking woman. I felt like a pissed off, hurt idiot. But, I did realize that I’m an adult and when you’re adult there’s only one thing to do: move on.
As I laid in bed, still feeling angry and confused, I did something I thought was actually a horrible idea but I did it anyway. I went through our text messages. Hundreds of them.
I felt an overwhelming sadness but not for the reason I expected I would.
Reading back over them it occurred to me how one-sided our relationship had been. He had moved and started new job and it was very stressful for him. He would check in and out of our relationship, with me there for him for support or care.
At first, I got the same in return but it died off quickly. I sent silly gifts and got him small things from trips. I bought him a birthday present that made me smile to send. I sent an old fashioned telegram that he didn’t even acknowledge. I did everything I could to make him feel loved and cared for. He didn’t do the same for me.
It was a sudden realization. He didn’t treat me well. He liked me well enough but never followed through on all those promises I read in those text messages. Reading those text messages it felt like bullshit.
I held on to him because I had held on to an idea that I had of what and who he was that wasn’t real.
I didn’t need to hold on to that anymore. I realized that reality, no matter how lonely it may seem, was better than a fantasy. I could hold out for a better reality and let go of the fantasy. I could let go of him. I could let go.
So I did.
I swiped left on my phone and, in one quick movement, deleted every single text message I had in my phone. Our entire relationship vanished. I could never get it back. Any of it.
I knew I could still reach out to him, though. I was sure there would be a sad, lonely moment where I missed him. So I went to my contacts and hit edit and scrolled down to “Delete Contact.”
I hit the button. I breathed a little sigh of relief. And I felt good. I actually felt relieved.
I now have absolutely no way of contacting him ever again. He’s gone.
Our relationship lasted a hot minute but it was intense and burned white hot. It left a giant hole of confusion. A big gaping hole where I thought genuine affection once lived and where promises were made and promises were broken.
But I’ll be fine. And this won’t define me and this won’t break me. My core is good and I can fill empty spaces on my own because I know I am worthy of love and that I am loved. Someone will treat me better. Someone will give back. Because I’m a strong, badass, motherfucking woman.