About The Ex…

I did it. Lending your favorite book to someone in the middle of your breakup is never a good idea. But, I finally did it. Four years later and I ordered a new copy. I’m onto e-books now, but I still purchased the hardcover version I’d owned. It was sort of this symbolic gesture, I thought. Acknowledging and accepting that I’ll never be getting that book back from him. We haven’t been in contact for nearly four years now, and I prefer to redirect my thoughts to something else if he ever crosses them. So, I haven’t really thought about him in quite some time. Then my phone rang the other night and I didn’t pick up…

No, it wasn’t him. It was just some kind of telemarketer, so I enter the password to my voicemail to delete the message, when I suddenly lose service on the train. My voicemail box has been nearly full for about seven years now. If I don’t delete a newly saved message that comes in, I can’t receive any new messages. I didn’t know who some of my saved messages were from anymore, but I knew there were some I didn’t want to hear. They’re messages that I wish I could add to the box at the bottom of my closet that I never open, but also don’t plan on throwing away entirely. If I hang up in the middle of checking my voicemail, the message gets moved to my saved voice messages, and the only way to delete it is to listen to all the saved messages that come before it.

I take a deep breathe. The first message is from a guy named —- But I’ve dated so many men with that name, I’m not even entirely sure who it is. I figure I’ll feel nostalgic over it at a later time and save it again. Then I start to sort through the rest of the messages, deleting some, and re-saving others. Random friends I’ve missed calls from over the years chime in with 2am drunken rambles, birthday wishes, accidental “I love you, bye” messages, and then my ex’s voice comes on. Did you know there’s such a thing as instant nausea? I imagine it’s like getting punched in the stomach, though I’ve never been hit. It’s sort of like when you see the car crash and you know you’re going to see something upsetting, but you just can’t look away. So, I listened. I made observations about our relationship from his tone and what he said in each message, sort of as an outside observer now.

Then I reached the message that must have happened right after our break-up. He was explaining why he wouldn’t be able to use the internet immediately and begged me not to delete the pictures of us on FaceBook because he liked them and wanted to save them before I did. I wasn’t feeling great by the time I got up to my most recent message. I remembered why I didn’t listen to those messages, open that box in my closest containing mementos from our relationship, and had blocked him and everyone he knew on FaceBook, four years ago. But, this time, listening to his messages, I remembered the break-up more than the relationship. There was more exhaustion than love in his voice in these messages. I was feeling like we’d never been right for each other listening to his messages, yet simultaneously it felt incredibly difficult to hear his voice. In my mind I had revisited the circumstances in which we’d broken up. Who tells someone they love them for the first time while dumping them, anyway?…

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Break-Ups

I’ve been wondering if there is a “right” way to break up with someone. I’d say it should be done in person because if you’re going to hurt someone, you should have the balls to look them in the eye when you do it. But timing, reason given, and how you put it really has to be considered as well. Then there’s that whole mess of the aftermath and how that’s dealt with. Though, with all of that considered, and all of the times I’ve been broken up with, I still can’t think back at any one of those situations and find a “favorite.” Nope, there isn’t really one I can say, “Oh yeah I preferred that one to the others” about. That’s just like trying to pick your favorite STD. (No, I don’t have any of those.) I guess sometimes it was done a little more poorly, though. Let’s go over them! I think it’s obvious how each could have been done “better.” Maybe you’ll be able to plan out your next dumping a little better after making note of my past…

Time Spent Dating: 1 Month / Age: Early Teens
He instant messaged me to tell me that he was now busy on the only day of the week we had been seeing each other. When I asked about seeing him a different day of the week, he said he was busy then too. Valentine’s Day was about a week away.

Time Spent Dating: 1 Month / Age: Mid-Teens
During an instant message conversation I misspelled a common word. He broke up with me over that in the instant messages. He then told a bunch of people at his school (who I was also friends with) that he had never felt happier to be rid of me. He said it was like the feeling you get when you get a new puppy.

Time Spent Dating: 4 Years / Age: Late-Teens
He did it in yet another instant message conversation after showing interest in someone he’d previously sworn he had no interest in. Though, there were some in-person follow up discussions I initiated, seeing that we were together for so long.

Time Spent Dating: 6 Months (Long Distance) / Age: Early 20’s
He did it in person, after an argument over my indecision in a trivial decision, as I was about to start my 5 hour trip home.

Time Spent Dating: 1 Year / Age: 20’s
He did it in person over a difference of beliefs/lifestyle and personality type. It was after some smiley-face looking forward to seeing you texts. He stayed close for a while, in attempt to help me move on.

Time Spent Dating: A Couple Weeks / Age: 20’s
He sent me a text message after I sent him one asking why he’d been speaking to me less. It was sort of a mutual agreement, he wanted a casual relationship that I didn’t think I was ready for. Though, I hadn’t really set out to end things.

Time Spent Dating: 3 Months / Age: 20’s
He did it in person because we weren’t right for each other and he didn’t think he had time for a relationship -which he didn’t think it was headed for either. He told me this down a random street before we were going to grab some drinks with his friends. –This was right after we had just seen a show together, which was also after just meeting my best friend.

Then there were the three guys I went out with a couple of times who decided to just ignore me out of the blue, and I never heard from them again. The last thing I heard from one of them was “Looking forward to seeing you Tuesday!” in a text before he disappeared off the face of the planet. I suppose that method is worst. You have to spend some time clueless about what’s going on, worried you’re going to sound like you’re checking in too much as you try to figure it out, and eventually feel like a fool for trying. There’s never any closure in that and you never figure out what the hell went wrong…
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