My Side of the Break-up
Retrospectively, I was in love, but I wasn’t over the moon. Maybe the honeymoon phase had ended. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for us. After we moved in together and adopted a dog — what more was there to do? We became stagnant. I was busy with my grad program, while Steve was busy working nights leaving our quality time limited. We started to lose touch with being young, wild, and free. We got too comfortable and I think we both lost the ability to really put effort into our relationship. So there were issues for sure. We all got ’em. I just thought that we had what it took to overcome them. And then came the night of the Super bowl.
I remember the night so vividly. We were routinely at his parents’ house for the big game. He had been on his phone A LOT. Much more than usual, especially at a family gathering (not to mention the Super bowl). If Steve loves two things in this world, it is his family and games. So, I made some passive aggressive comments to him — again, another thing I’m working on. He said it was his coworker. Finally, by the end of the night I’d had enough. I asked if it was her he was talking to all night and if she had a boyfriend. I got a ‘yes’ and a ‘no,’ respectively. And at that moment I just knew it. This started a long, long, LONG couple of nights discussing the nature of their relationship and how I was uncomfortable with their interactions.
At this point, I was irrefutably suspicious. I even went as far as asking Steve to let me read their text messages. I don’t condone snooping. Just be upfront. Oh, the irony — I can’t be upfront with my own feelings, yet I expect people to be open and honest with me about theirs. Eh, I believe there is a little hypocrisy in all of us. I read the messages. They were not Earth-shattering. He wasn’t confessing his love for her. Wasn’t venting about his unhappiness in our relationship.
But, they were flirty. Very flirty. He sent her a picture of Ellen DeGeneres, which had a caption “Hey Babe.” Now nothing against Ellen, I love her. However, there is no way it is okay with me that my boyfriend is sending this to another, single, attractive female, whom I did not know. He claimed it was a joke.
Not only were they texting all day, they also had a snapchat streak and were playing numerous, daily games of checkers on an app. I didn’t have a snap streak with him. He didn’t rematch me. The other specificity I remember in their messages was their conversation about how the skin on her arms was oh, so, silky-smooth.
The first weekend Steve and I had spent at a friend’s college get-together, he had touched my arms saying how baby-soft my skin was. That was the first time I felt a part of our relationship start to burn.
He desecrated a memory. A memory that was ours. A memory that, prior to the Super bowl of 2017 hadn’t crossed my mind in years. A memory that became so enormously significant to me, but seemingly so irrelevant to Steve.
Isn’t it odd? Not only how the mind can effortlessly resurface fleeting memories in the blink of an eye, but also how each individual’s perspective can be so vastly different, perhaps even nonexistent.
Out of everything, this was the worst part: Steve made her special, while also reinforcing feelings of worthlessness and insignificance that weighed heavy on my heart.
Here comes the anxiety. I started therapy, because my anxiety had sky-rocketed so high that it started to interfere with my day to day life in my graduate program. I actually started crying uncontrollably just walking across the street. For seemingly no reason at all.
Side note → you have absolutely no fucking clue what severe anxiety is until you experience it for yourself. You can do your best to learn about it and to sympathize, but you will never fully understand until it creeps up on you.
I tried to explain it to my dad. It felt like 100% of the time there was a ten-pound bowling ball inside my chest. I stopped sleeping. I stopped eating. I cried constantly. I isolated myself. I desperately tried to hide everything from my peers in my program.
My mind had consisted of food, Hamilton, and the intermittent thoughts of death, which turned into thoughts of Steve, and not in a good way:
Does he call her babe when he sees her? So now he was touching her at work? How could he just forget to mention that they share a locker? Did they hug every day? Am I crazy? Don’t I trust him? Had they hooked up in a supply closet? If we break up, who stays in the apartment? Was she better at checkers than me? Who keeps our dog? Is she prettier than me? Does he think about her while we have sex? Whose skin is softer? She must be happier than me. I’m probably too sad all the time. Too busy with work. I don’t put enough effort into our relationship. Is she a better cook than me? How am I going to finish my presentation for tomorrow? Was he sending her fucking dick-pics?!
^^That is just a quick snippet of my mind 24/7^^
For a good month, he convinced me nothing was wrong. He had been lonely at work, and he desperately needed friends. “That’s all it is.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Both his siblings, his parents, and even my own parents attested to his trustworthy nature. And I was willing to give up everything for him.
So, we were working on our relationship. I was in therapy. He continued to talk to her, but to a lesser extent, which we had agreed upon. Though he denied it constantly and vigorously, deep down I think I knew he had feelings for her. God damn, writing this makes me so angry. Here I am yelling at my computer screen, “HOW THE HELL DID YOU STAY, ANDY? YOU KNEW ALL ALONG!” Well I’ll tell you how. I was desperate.
Not only was I desperate, I was also desperately in love with Steve and willing to compromise my whole-self and all of my values for him.
If that isn’t love (yeah, maybe not a healthy version of love), I don’t know what is.
And then there was the night he broke up with me. He went outside to talk to his parents on the phone. There was no question we were both struggling emotionally. Steven frequently called his parents for advice over the month, so this was not out of the ordinary. It was getting late into the evening, and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. I get ‘hangry’ quite easily, so I decided to eat while he finished the conversation. I ate gemelli pasta with sautéed kale — a meal that I will never, ever eat again, and also a meal that eventually ended up in the toilet bowl, because I was so upset that I threw-up.
I had just finished an episode of the Simpsons. The one where Marge starts to have this fling with the fancy Italian bowler, and Homer finds out. Freaky, I know. Steve sat down next to me, put his arm awkwardly around my shoulder, not tenderly around my waist. He told me he loved me. That everything he has said to me over the last month was true. But, he wanted to try to date other people. Actually, he specifically said he wanted to take his coworker out. What a fucking blow to the gut. And then after he was able to explore his feelings (and probably his co-worker’s body), he wanted to reconvene to determine if we should get back together. I can at least say that I’m proud of myself that I said, “absolutely not.”
It was over. I packed a bag that consisted of 3 t-shirts, 2 pairs of leggings, and a few pairs of underwear not knowing that would be my closet for the next 3 weeks. It was an ugly night from what I can remember, and honestly, it’s not much. Most is a blur, which maybe is better. I do remember calling my dad, who to this day undoubtedly saved my life. He talked to me for at least two hours. I cannot thank that man enough. There is something so pure and genuine about the love of a parent. And I’m so thankful I have that.
So, you’re probably thinking to yourself…that wasn’t an email. Well, Steve called me less than 12 hours later. Telling me that he made the worst mistake of his life. He wants nothing more than to be engaged to me. He was completely wrong throughout this whole entire situation, and he told his co-worker to buzz-off.
Another little side note →it takes two to tango. Although, I believe his coworker should not have flirted with someone who was in a relationship (and she knew about me), the real culprit is Steve. He disrespected me and this is on HIM, not her.
We got back together, but I went home with my dad. And then a week later came that sweet, little email. I don’t know about on you, but I call bull-shit.
Now, I don’t want to portray him as this terrible person. Steve really is a good person (with perhaps some questionable morals). But, I do want to reiterate a few key points:
1. Fucked me over.
2. Didn’t treat me as well as I deserve.
3. Was so unbelievably immature throughout this ENTIRE process.
Hey, it could have been me. I could have fallen for someone at school and broke his heart. That being said, I wouldn’t have tried to convince Steve (or myself) that it was merely a friendship.
Wow that was a lot. And there is so much more that transpired, which I am not ready (or willing) to talk about. But there was a point to this all, I promise. Hopefully first and foremost, someone can read this and relate. Well, I don’t hope this happened to anyone, but I hope this helps someone in some way. And secondly, I’ve started to paint you the picture of who I was and what was going on in my life at that time.