That thing between life and death…what a bitch!

These are the words of a text I received from The Ex today. What a headfucker of a day. At 4.15am, my phone buzzed and woke me up – which doesn’t often happen. It was a text from my Ex (a particularly boisterous text) followed by another asking for me to call him. I replied, asking if his text was meant for me. No, was the reply. Fair enough. I turned around to fall back asleep, and then my phone rang. What followed was a 3 hour conversation.

We covered a lot of ground. Initially, he was calling because a mutual friend of ours (ish) had told him I was doing coke, sleeping with his friends etc etc. I know who he was talking about and I don’t understand why she’s saying this. I haven’t done coke. I tried a little on my gums on a night out with Mr Music because I wanted to know what the fuss was about. It was disgusting. And I’d told my friend this while we were talking about coke in general. As for me sleeping with his mates, well. I haven’t! One of them tried it on with me, twice, but I said no. Furthermore, the friend of his who tried it on is now sleeping with the friend whose been stirring shit. Lastly, I wouldn’t dip into that genetically inbred pool if you paid me. So, of course, I told him all this. He said he believed me, he just couldn’t understand why she was saying these things. The conversation then covered our relationship, our new relationships and everything in between.

The worst thing he said, was that this time last year, when I was begging and dying for him to take me back, he said no because he didn’t want to feel like I was doing it out of pity for him and the way he acted when I left him. He wanted me to take the time to really think about what I wanted, but that he did want to get back together. That hurt. A lot. I don’t know how I could have made it any clearer that I wanted him back. When he left me crying until I thought I’d vomit up my insides, twice. When I’d call and text and call and text. I don’t understand how he could have thought it was pity. He said saying no was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. I felt incredibly sad and I told him that. Throughout our relationship he could be the master manipulator. He could pull anyone’s strings and have them marching to the beat of his drum. But there’d be times he’d do things and I wouldn’t understand why. He used to tell me he wanted me to figure out the reasons why instead of him telling me. He said, that there were certain things in life that he didn’t want to influence people over, so he would do things without explanation to make them think about why he was doing what he was doing. And if that sounds complicated, it’s because it was. I don’t know how many times I’d told him while we were together not to do this. I could never figure it out and it inevitably led to arguments. It seems that him rejecting me, almost a year ago to the day, was borne out of the same idea. He said he wanted me to want to be with him (which he would know was for real after a period of absence), and make that want known, followed by ‘hint, hint, nudge, nudge’. He said there was one point when we’d met and I was so upset, but I still couldn’t tell him I wanted to come back. And that even now, he knows I wouldn’t be able to say that, even if that’s what I still wanted because I’m that stubborn.

It was a hard conversation. Very emotional, very deep. Despite that, we still laughed like we were old friends. He told me I sounded strong and sexy, like the 17 year old girl he fell in love with and not the 27 year old woman who left. He told me he wanted me to give 100% of myself to the next guy, like I didn’t with him. And for his part, he told me about what he’s been up to. About his relief at easily being able to make a woman come in bed, which he did maybe three or four times with me, though not through lack of trying. In fairness, his new girlfriend sounds nice  enough. It sounds like she’s giving him everything he wants and was never able to get from me. We spoke about friends we used to hang out with. His best friend (who’s friends with Gym Buddy and the reason we met in the first place) is back with his girlfriend. When they were together, we all used to hang out. I really liked her and then when they split (in a particularly nasty fashion), I never heard from her again. I actually contacted her again this year and we swapped a couple of emails before she dropped off again. Turns out they’re back together now after being apart for a couple of years and expecting a baby. I don’t know why but that news really got to me. In my head, we were always going to be the ones to do that first. We were always the couple our friends used to talk about as the pinnacle of what relationships were. Hard, yes, but solid. Which was the case for many years. We were meant to get married first, have kids first. Now, that’s happening to them instead of us. He said the same thing, that I was meant to be the grandmother of his grandchildren and now that’s not going to happen. In the end, he started to get upset and said he had to go, at 7.30am.

I was confused. I was tearful and I was sad. He was such a huge part of my life for so long and I couldn’t understand, why now? Why are you telling me this now? We’ve had comms throughout the year, it’s not like this was the first time we’d spoken since the split. We ended up texting until around midday. What have I deduced from this?

He feels regret. He says he thinks he loves his new girlfriend, but she isn’t me. I almost felt like sending him the link to my post about moving on. He said he felt like he’d ruined me and it had been playing on his mind for a long time. That he felt I’d become someone else as a result of what went on during our relationship. To be honest, I think he felt guilt. He’s really into his new girlfriend but it isn’t the same. He said that a lot. The sex is great, but it’s not you. She’s very reactive, but she’s not you. She’s great, but she’s not you. I told him that of course it’s not the same. It’s not meant to be. But if he really likes her then he owes it to her and himself to really try, instead of holding onto memories of what we had. He said he’s learned a lot from our break up (though he’s still on the coke??) and he understands why I left. He doesn’t want me to only tell people about the bad times because he has apparently never badmouthed me. To his friends, to his new girlfriend. It sounded a lot like a case of ‘what could have been’. ‘If only’. If only he hadn’t of played this mind game with me last year. If only I’d have tried for one more week to get him back. He sounded like he didn’t know what he wanted. He said he didn’t know what he wanted. Distracted by memories and nostalgia and I told him that it wasn’t fair to put me through this just because of those two things. He replied by saying he thinks he knows what he wants, he just hadn’t properly dealt with things until today. And knowing that I’m happy makes that easier. I’ll always be the love of his life and even though he’s old school and therefore bound to hate The Frenchman or anyone else, he’s also an adult and wants me to be happy.

By the time we said our goodbyes, I felt a bit better. It felt like he just needed to talk some things out and figure things out in his head. And although I shouldn’t be the person he goes to for that, I can’t deny it was nice to talk to him again. Our break up was hard and messy, but the comms we’ve had since then have been friendly enough. After ten years, of course I care about him. Of course I want him to be happy. He’s such a strong person, I know how much it takes for him to talk about his deep feelings, let alone cry. It goes against everything he was brought up to believe, so I knew how much he needed to talk last night.

It’s left me unfocused and with a headache. My trip to the National Gallery turned out to be a waste of time because I couldn’t focus on anything at all. Not because I’m confused about my feelings, or anything like that, but because I’ve been left with this feeling that I can’t describe. This feeling of…..this. I have to agree with his text. Life is a bitch and full of what ifs and regrets. But I do know that this year I’ve been happy. I can’t lay my unhappiness all on him – I know I could have done things differently to make myself happy – but I wouldn’t have done even a quarter of the things I’ve done this year if we’d have got back together. And it’s only after I’ve done said thing that I realise how much I’ve changed since I left. Or reverted back to my old self.

But I still can’t help the feeling that all of this shouldn’t have happened. And because of a massive case of crossed wires, miscommunications etc, it has. And that is such a shame.

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Delusion and moving on

I just had a hilarious telephone conversation with the girlfriend of my Ex’s best friend. Apparently he went round there and told them that  I’d texted him to go for a drink but he said no because he was convinced I wanted him back. Don’t make me laugh. I had texted in the early summer and asked if he wanted to go for a drink after our conversation, purely because I thought even though we weren’t together any more, we had spent almost ten years together and still evidently cared for each other. We didn’t meet up but it was no skin off my nose. So he’s told them he thinks I want to get back together with him and that I must still be miserable having made the biggest mistake of my life by leaving him. Oh and he was bitching because I went to Ibiza after having said I’d never go there, ever, and why couldn’t I have done that with him?

I had to laugh. Getting back with him has to be the very last thing on my mind and I don’t know where he’s getting the impression that I’m miserable. When I do see him, I’m always bouncy and happy, and that’s not fake. I am genuinely loving my life and having him in it as a friend, or not, makes no difference to me. I went to Ibiza without him because if I’d have gone with him, he’d have spent 90% of the time high. And as for me making the biggest mistake of my life by leaving, considering he’s still in exactly the same place as he was a year, two years, three years ago, I’d say it was the best thing I’ve ever done. When I look at what I’ve done this year – the nights out, my trips to Ireland, Ibiza and Toulouse, even taking my first flight alone – I feel proud. I’m actually living my life instead of watching it pass me by, whereas he is still wasting his weekends away with a cocktail of drugs. The fact that he’s still doing this, coupled with the fact he thinks I’m the one who made the mistake, tells me he’s learned nothing. Zero. Zilch. I can imagine he’s done nothing more exciting than try meth for the first time.

He has, at least, moved on. When I blogged about his ketamine and meth usage earlier in the year, I mentioned that he’d been sleeping with his drug buddy’s sister. It now seems they’re actually a couple. She does cocaine too, which is obviously not a good thing, but I’m happy for him. It makes no bearing on my life to know this and I do still care about his happiness after all. I will admit to being a bit miffed when she told me he apparently said he wanted to marry and have kids with her though. Not out of jealousy, but because I thought ‘why not me?’. Obviously, getting married and having kids with him would have been a colossal mistake, but I put in so much bloody effort with him. Ten years of battling the ignorance, underlying racism and non-acceptance from some of his family, putting up with his drug use, running errands like a bitch and being a good little housewife, and after a few months with his new chick, he’s actually thinking of settling down. It made me feel second best until I realised that it’s probably because it’s so much easier for him. His Kosovan family will love her white-ness and because she uses drugs too, she’s always going to be on his wavelength and understand the chase and the buzz of getting off her face. And if that is the  case then good luck to him, I guess.

The fact is, I know now that I deserve so, so much more than what I got. I deserve someone who will put me first, instead of being domineering and chauvinistic. I deserve someone who’d do anything for me, the same way I would for them. And I want a guy who isn’t an habitual drug taker. I’m not the same girl. To put it in Gotye’s words, I’m just somebody that he used to know.

After all the heartache, ups and downs and questioning if I made the right move by leaving, I’ve moved on. I’m happy, which is just about all I could ask for right now. I’m enjoying my life and learning from my mistakes all the time. And I can honestly say that leaving him wasn’t one of them. If anything, my mistake was staying in the relationship and trying to make it work for so long. If he ever comes out of his drugged up haze and off his know-it-all high horse, he’ll realise that.

As someone once said, ‘I’m not the girl that got away. I’m the girl you failed to keep.’

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

As I’ve mentioned before, The Break Up is a favourite film of mine. I love the fact that it doesn’t have a typical fairy tale ending. I’d recorded it on Sky+ and watched it again tonight. It’s the first time I’ve watched it since splitting with my ex and it brought back a lot of memories. Standing in an empty flat, without all the furniture, trinkets and memories that you’d built together for years around you is a hard thing to do. When I left, I didn’t realise how painful it would be.

When break ups happen, it’s almost universally expected that the dumpee comes off worse than the dumper, but I’m not convinced that’s true for all parts. For me, there was a period where I thought ‘fuck, what have I done? I’ve left the guy I’ve loved for 9.5 years, I’ve moved out of the flat we’d got together.’ Regret was an emotion I felt strongly for a good 2-3 months and regret is not a great feeling. It makes you feel unsure of yourself constantly. In fact, the scenario played out in The Break Up is very similar to my book, which when I read it back is almost as painful as it was to watch that film.

But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Most break ups happen because something isn’t right in the relationship, and it’s usually a result of issues that have argued over and over, with no resolution. It might feel like the worlds ending, but it isn’t. There are plenty more chances to be happy and have the relationship you really want if you take the right lessons from it.

I’m a romantic. I’d love to truly believe there’s a soulmate for me out there, just one person who I was destined to be with. But I can be awfully pragmatic too, and with so many people in the world, there has to be more than one person you can find true happiness with. I’m not saying the relationship would be the same, or that you’d have to love that person with the same love as you did your ex. Love changes over time, I think. When you’re young (or it’s the first time you’ve fallen) its this exciting, wonderful thing. You believe you’d literally die without that person in your life, no matter what they might do to annoy you. Unconditional love.

But as you get older, and bruised by past relationships, that changes. If you’re smart enough to learn lessons from your past relationships, you start to realise what is and isn’t acceptable to you. With my ex, I loved him to bits. I’d put up with his long nights on coke and the consequent days after when he’d be feeling rough all weekend and we never did anything. I’d get out of bed at 4am to pick him up from his mates house when he was drunk and high, no question. I didn’t like it, but I did it because I loved him. I was even willing to overlook all that when I wanted him back. Because I loved him.

Now, that’s something I wouldn’t do, ever again. Not for anyone. The unconditional love I had for him will never be applied to anyone else because I know what I want out of a relationship and what I won’t tolerate.

So, my message is this. If you’re feeling regret, confused – whatever – because of a break up, think about why it happened. Think about why you left that person or why they left you and learn from it. And don’t be scared that you’ll never love someone the way you loved your ex or vice versa, because you won’t. Once you know that, there’s nothing to be afraid of because it means you’ll be giving and (hopefully) getting the love you actually want than settling for anything else.

x

My One Year Anniversary

Today I’m celebrating an anniversary of sorts. It’s a year since I left my boyfriend of 9 and a half years. I can’t really celebrate a proper year of singledom since things were very tumultous until the end of December but still, it’s a milestone.

Thinking back on the things I’ve done in the last twelve months, and the things I have to look forward to, is nuts. Aside from the male related activities I’ve enjoyed, I’ve reconnected with old friends, had a fabulous weekend away, started to learn a new language, learned to enjoy my own company, had fabulous nights out, got a step closer to
having my book published and generally had lots amd lots of fun. A
year ago, I’d have said the next year of my life would be much the same as it was then, which was OK. I didn’t realise how much I’d settled for. And now I think, what if I’d have stayed? I’d possibly be a mum, or pregnant. I’d no doubt still be angry at coming second to class A narcotics and I’d think that it was the way the rest of my
life would pan out.

Thank fuck I’m out of that.

I’m not going to deny the months after the break up were hard – at times I literally wanted to die – but now I can actually look back and say I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I made the right choice. I’ve got so much to look forward to. Marseilles, Ibiza, Glastonbury, spending more time with my friends and making lots of new memories along the way. And even better, I know what I want out of a
relationship now, and I know what I absolutely will not settle for.

I have to say a massive, massive thank you to my friends: Miss Sunshine, Miss Yoyo, Miss America and Miss Comeback for their words of advice and support over the past 12 months. I love you all.

Time flies when you’re having fun 😉

Can friends with benefits ever really work?

After a mental, busy week, I’ve had some downtime this weekend. I watched two films pretty much back to back – both with the same theme. ‘No Strings Attached’ with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, and ‘Friends With Benefits’ starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.

Friends with Benefits was much better than No Strings Attached, but the premise was the same. Two friends decide to embark on a relationship where they use each other purely for sex. No emotion, no demands, just fun between the sheets. The only variation was that in No Strings Attached it was Natalie Portman’s character who was ’emotionally unavailable’ whereas in Friends with Benefits, it was the more traditional portrayal of the guy (Justin Timberlake) being the commitment-phobe. Of course, the inevitable happened. Something happened to make one of the ‘couple’ want more, a fall-out ensued and then they both realised they were the loves of each others lives. Yada, yada, yada – so far, so Hollywood. But it did get me thinking. Can a Friend with Benefits situation ever really work?

Call it what you want. FWB’s, fuck buddies, throw downs, booty call – the rules are the same. It’s purely about the physical. This, for me, is where it all falls down. I dipped my toe in the friend with bens water earlier this year but, thankfully, it died a death before it could ever get started. And, I say thankfully because I’m not sure I’d be able to sustain it for a proper length of time.

The Good…

It’s a cliche that girls can’t separate emotion from sex, but actually, it works in reverse too. Anyone can have a one night stand or have sex and not allow themselves to really feel emotions for the person they’re sleeping with, but I think it only works in the short term. Think about it, in a normal relationship, the first few weeks or months are fun. You’re getting to know each other (I only mean in the physical sense here), what you both like/dislike, the sex is phenomonal (if it’s not then you might as well give up now). This is par for the course. Both NSA and FWB (I can’t be bothered to write the film titles out every time) portrayed this well with a lengthy montage showing both couples getting it on in every which way and place possible.

The Bad…

But, in a normal relationship, once the initial buzz wears off, things change. Emotions begin to play a part in what you’re doing. Instead of banging like rabbits all the time, the slow, sensual times start to creep in. So why think it would be any different in a FWB situation? Again, both films showed this. There’d be a scene where there’s way too much eye gazing than is necessary for the ‘casual’ relationship, and they would actually ‘make love’ (ugh. I hate that phrase) instead of getting it on like porn stars. Oh, and there’d usually be a case of one watching the other sleep too. In a casual, no commitment scenario, this is bad, bad news.

Source: Marie Claire

The End…?

So you’ve woken up to see your no strings lover gazing at you. Or maybe you’ve realised their bouts of jealousy when you mentioned that you had a date the other night. Whatever it is, the boat has been rocked. That agreement you had to just have sex, with no emotion, no ties? Gone out the window. Hollywood would have us believe that you’ll both eventually realise you love each other to bits and then live happily ever after. But this isn’t Hollywood. It’s real life. It’s not a crime that one of you has realised you like the other more than you initially thought. That’s sex for you. In singular bouts, it’s not too bad but if you’re having regular naughty time with someone, of course you’re going to start thinking ‘what if’. After all, this person was your friend to start with so, by definition, you like each other. The problem is that we allow ourselves to believe the Hollywood hype. Sure, these people in Laa-Laa Land made it work and, yeah okay, they fell out at one point but, hey look – they’re a proper couple now. And we switch over the TV or close the book we’re reading and think that we can apply this to our own lives.

Get real. You can have one-off sex with a friend and not have your friendship ruined. You were both drunk, stoned, the world was about to end – whatever – but I honestly don’t believe you can have a sustained sexual relationship without someone getting hurt. We’re programmed to bond during sex – hormones are released, you feel close to the person you’re with and no matter how explicit your agreement was, one or the other is bound to at least toy with the idea of more in their head.

You know what I’d like? I’d like for there to be a film, or a book, which shows a much more realistic ending. One of the reasons I liked ‘The Break Up’ with Vince Vaughn and the queen of the romcom, Jennifer Aniston, is because there was no happy ending. After a very long term relationship, two people actually went their separate ways. There was no tear inducing reunion. So why can’t there be a film where two people start a no strings relationship, one of them plays their hand and everything goes south, resulting in a lost friendship. That to me is more realistic than a guy using flash mobs in grand central station to proclaim his love for his ex fuck buddy. And I am, as always, a realist.

Getting rid of emotional baggage

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As much as I love social media, it can be a challenge to understand the protocol when it comes to break ups. Do you remain Facebook friends? Do you block them? Do you keep all the pictures of you as a couple?

Over the last month or so I’d been getting a bit fed up of seeing pictures of me and my ex on my profile page. It felt like I was looking at pictures of someone else and I might as well have been because I’m not that person anymore. Mostly it felt like I was hanging on to a lot of emotional baggage. I’d already deleted the text messages I’d kept from when we were trying to patch things up, and any photos I had of him on my phone were long since deleted. So last night I deleted the pictures of us together on Facebook, and I feel so much lighter! It really got me thinking about how I’ve got through the last 5 months. Now I’m no expert in relationships or break ups, but here’s what helped me:

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Unless you cheated, abused or did something equally heinous, don’t beat yourself up too much. One thing I’ve come to realise is that people change and grow apart. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way it is.

2. Your ex is not the only man/woman in the world. There really are plenty more fish in the sea, and probably better fish at that.

3. Keep your friends close. There were times when I really didn’t want to see anyone, including my best friends, but I made the effort and looking back I couldn’t have got through it without them. So a huge thank you to (in no particular order) Gym-Buddy, Miss America, Miss Yoyo and Miss Sunshine (newly introduced but she’ll know who she is).

4. Get laid. A friend told me that the only way to get over someone is to get under someone else. She was right. A rebound fling is inevitable, do it, get it out of the way.

5. Do something you never thought you would. There’s many a number of things I’ve done so far this year that I’d never have dreamt of. Even small things like going to a gallery by yourself or booking a girls holiday to somewhere hedonistic. Do it.

6. Use social media with caution. I had to go back and delete a load of Facebook posts where I’d poured my heart out. I sounded positively suicidal and I cringed when I read them back. Be careful.

7. Don’t stalk. Don’t make your ex a ‘close friend’ on Facebook. Do you really need to know every little thing they’re up to? Don’t spend hours pouring over your past holiday photos either. It’s not going to make you feel any better.

8. Treat yourself. This year I’ve done just that. I had planned to save a heap of money as a bonus of moving back home but I haven’t. I’ve spent shitloads, but I figured I deserved a little niceness. Go buy an expensive pair of shoes, a nice dress or get your hair done. You’ll feel fabulous.

9. Fall head over heels in lust. Remind yourself that you are attractive and had you can feel strongly about someone else.

10. Lastly, have FUN! Go out with your mates, go to concerts, parties, shopping – whatever it is that makes you happy. Your life isn’t over, it’s just a new chapter beginning.

And if I could add another to my top ten, it would be to start a blog. It’s so much more effective than having a diary and made me feel a whole lot less alone.

Break ups create a lot of baggage, but they’re meant to. I feel a lot stronger and comfortable in my own skin than I did even just 8 months ago. Realise that not everyone is going to hurt you – don’t become bitter or you’ll miss out on all the sweetness 🙂

Adele – Ghetto Fabulous

I just have to say, watching Adele pick up her gazillionth award on the Brit Awards, I love the fact she’s so down to earth. OK, so she sounds like she’s from a dodgy council estate in London, but hey, guess what…that’s normal. I’m from a dodgy council estate in London. It really grates on me when people slag her off because of her weight, or her accent. She’s a great role model for girls out there. She’s not prancing around naked with her tits and arse hanging around, nor is she out getting legless on vodka jelly shots. She’s the type of girl you could have a good chinwag with. And, she writes amazing songs. This one, Rolling in the Deep, is what got me through my break up. Someone Like You is fabulous, but too depressing. With Rolling in the Deep, I took the line ‘we could have had it all’ to mean, you had your chance, and you blew it.

And it made me feel good 🙂