A Jounal of My Breakup because
I operate best when thinking out loud even though it gets me into trouble!
I have a headache. This is not going to be easy. I am single again, so to speak. My GF recently ended our four year relationship. I know what it’s all about. I understand. You could say I’ve been waiting for it to happen for the last, oh, 6 months to a year. We were having a rough time and it was a rocky road but I wanted to stick it out. After all it was I that was failing in the relationship, I think, I guess. I figured it was like a disease and I just needed to get over it. But I knew that she would not put up with it forever. Her retirement was in the works and she would have more time on her hands come the summer. It’s funny. As I read this over I think of the people that put up with alcoholics or drug addicts or criminals or infidelity and wonder how my petty problems could be so terrible?
Let me explain. When we met she stated her expectations and I guess I stated mine. We both wanted companionship - someone for traveling and for activities. Neither of us wanted to marry, or even live together. Those things are less important when you reach our age. I would come over Friday night and stay until very early Monday morning. I’m retired it was easy for me but she worked. Easy for me except for all the packing and planning I would do every Friday and the unpacking and washing I would do every Monday when I got home.
I wanted sex, well because I’m a man and I felt like I could make up for all those years of being a nerd and avoiding relationships (or not getting to one correctly.) But it was more than that, really. For me sex and the intimacy is validation of our ‘togetherness.’ She seemed all for it. She is a girlie-girl. She wears bright nail polish and takes care of herself. Staying young is clearly a priority for her. She is nine years older than I am but you wouldn’t believe it unless you know her as I do. Our sexual drives seemed to match.
But we had other expectations. Mine was to not take the lead. What she wanted was OK by me. I got my way mostly when she wanted me to get my way. This was unspoken most of the time. If she sensed my desire to do something that she didn’t she would suggest it or point it out, making it OK. She was sensitive that way. Sometimes I negotiated and insisted on an agreement. Like the fact that she did all the driving-around when we were home, the way I like it, but I would drive when there was the need for an all-wheel vehicle to go skiing. I bought the AWD with her insistence that I do it so that we could go to the snow without having to depend on others. But even that got bad because I proved to be too bad a driver for her. We started seeking out friends to carpool with for the snow trips and let me drive only as the very last resort. So in a way I failed her there. That could be a minor failure of sorts. So I got my way in that I got to go home to my own space and do whatever I wanted and to be able to let my hair down on weekdays while she worked.
Like any other woman she can say to her friends: “I ended it because of his issues.” I have issues and she grew tired of them. I met her at a time when I was at my perfect weight. You know the BMI thing where I’m 5’7” and I weighed 159 lbs. I had been dieting for 2 years and lost 100 lbs. An incredible achievement! I had done it only once before when I was shocked at being 30 years old and weighing 190 lbs and so I dieted down to 145 lbs.
This time I was 52 and was waiting until I needed to lose an even 100 lbs before doing it. I guess. But the motivation came in my needing to find new friends as well.
It seems relationship changes or loss motivates me. Well maybe I got that backwards. Back at 30 I did a diet thing to get down to 145 and then met someone that wanted to date. I was thrilled. She was wonderful. Affectionate, thoughtful, a little liberated to the point that she would BRING ME flowers. Again, we had separate lives. She would invite me over for dinner in the middle of the week and I would sleep over. Then we would spend time together on the weekends. The issues then were different. I was too busy and worried about my work and succeeding. I guess I had the usually phobias about marriage and kids and responsibility. She eventually broke it off and included the comment that she would never plan a family with a psycho like me. Like most of my break ups we never talked again.
But back to the present heartbreak!
So the other expectation she expressed was that she wanted someone fit and trim. I was trim at that time and had become somewhat fit from a lot of hiking during the summer that we first started noticing each other. But prior to that time I was never much of an athlete.
The relationship started out with a bang! And that’s in more ways than one. When I said I wanted a steady relationship with her we started having relations. That was comforting. At the same time she pulled out the cruising brochures and started to negotiate with me about going on a cruise over the holidays. I protested that I was well-off but not rich, so we found a good deal and it became our first trip. It wasn’t going to stop - and that was fine with me somewhat, I guess. I had always said that I would like to travel but not alone. So I haven’t been to a lot of sights except when business travel gave me the chance and now I was retired and wanting to travel more. Let me interject here that she always paid her own way and just wanted me to ‘keep up’ with her travel spending. I look at myself as a good catch in that respect. I have a steady retirement income, etc.
We would go on at least two major trips a year, trips that would cost at least $750 and closer to $1000 or more. That’s really not a lot for some but I found out it adds up for me. And there were the 2 or 3 weekend holiday trips to ski. I agonized over how to afford this and realized that my living conditions could be drastically paired down. I had a large house with a mortgage and expenses and I could cut it down. I promised her I could fix my predicament by doing this. After all I wasn’t home much and it really wasn’t necessary to have a large place , that is, after I downsized. And that proved to be something I have a hard time doing. Downsizing means giving up, throwing away and pairing down. I am a little bit of a hoarder. Not enough to make the news but just enough to where I become disorganized and where it prevents me from picking up and moving.
I could see it coming for months. First she joked and called me her little Buddha. Then she would insist I purchase pants that would fit but very tight declaring that it would be the incentive for me to lose weight. Here’s were I guess I became passive-aggressive. I would resist. I would actually notice that I could have weight loss over the weekend while with her and then gain it back during the week from eating somewhat wrong. I just didn’t want to go back to the dreaded dieting like before. It demands a lot of discipline and so you need to be fully committed. I wasn’t.
So it happened. My ritual of sending her an e-mail to negotiate the weekend activities was returned with a “WE NEED TO TALK. Come over Friday for dinner.”
I arrived Friday at the appointed time and we went out for some light fare. Me feeling like the condemned man I surely was. When we returned to her place, she started with the expected phrase. I can’t even remember it now. It was “I don’t want to see you anymore.” Or maybe it was: “It’s over.” What I remember of it was the subtler gentleness. She is good. She only spoke of her feelings and her view, the right way to talk about feelings that are causing a breakup. She said she was no longer attracted to me. I didn’t need an explanation of why. I said that I understood that we were going through a rough period but I thought we could get past it. She seemed to leave it open to a platonic relationship in that she said she just didn’t want to have sex with me anymore. I didn’t try to negotiate that point because she added that she knew how important sex was for me and that she couldn’t do anything about it anymore. And finally she confessed that she was acting bitchy a lot lately and she didn’t want to be “the bitch” in the relationship. We exchanged comments about how wonderful it was while it lasted and that we would always have fond memories of our time together and …. (What do I say here: “BLAH BLAH BLAH” or “yaddy yaddy yad”? )
I immediately went out to my car and got the suitcase. I figured it was an 85/15 chance of getting dumped or getting something else so I was prepared. I had hoped it would have been another dressing down, one that would have carried the weight of an ultimatum. It’s usually what I need. I tend to operate best when I have an external force that plays on my conscience and that motivates me. I’ve succeeded in life because I’ve never really had people I could fall back on and so the real threat of homelessness etc. always kept me active to support myself and be prepared for the day I couldn’t or didn’t want to work.
I said something that popped into my head and that I’m still thinking about. I told her that I had this dichotomy about motivation, that I need the support and encouragement she had been giving me but that I seemed to insist on resisting it. I think it goes back to my sister and her often telling me that I’m a success only because of her nagging.
At this point, in the tradition of all the Fridays I had spent with her, we went for a brisk walk and she commented to me that I had kept up with her for the first time. She told me I should date someone younger but I don’t know. I’m of an older mind-set than my age so it was good that she was older. I guess she was thinking in terms of libido. Unfortunately all, most, women lose their libido as they age? What’s a guy to do?
I drove home and, not knowing what else to do, I updated my Facebook status to Single.
You could say I was gleeful. This would become a chance of a new life for me. I can now meet someone new and different. There’s the excitement of a new love over the horizon. I could negotiate new and maybe different terms.
But it only lasted a few days. When the weekend started to come around I was mournful and depressed. The reality had sunk in that I was single, alone again. I would have to plan the rest of my life without her. I would have to plan trips on my own. I would have to find someone like her but who could tolerate my “issues.”
When I was working I would say: “Never wish ill of your boss. You could get one that’s worse!” I wonder if that holds for girl friends?