Delayed Reaction

If there’s one thing I should have learned about myself that I haven’t is that I often get delayed responses to things. No surprise since I do certain things by the seat of my pants, like getting a tattoo the day after I’ve drawn it for example. In this case, it’s The Frenchman. Yes, him again. I’ve been feeling fantastically low for a good few weeks now and it’s not letting up. I think it kicked in properly when I was feeling ill and spent a whole day crying like a demented baby. Since then, it’s come in waves. Today was a bit shit, really. Things like listening to music, any music, is disgustingly horrible, but I still do it because, well. It’s music. And I can’t live without it, which is why I’ve got music stuff incorporated into tattoo number 5. I’d love to share pics but I can’t because…well. Anonymity and all that malarkey. Even the fact that it’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ll hit the big 2-9 is just….meh.

What didn’t help, was that I met with The Ex yesterday. Since we’ve missed each other at a mutual friends’ last couple of gatherings by an hour or so and we’ll both be going to a christening next month, I thought it a good idea to get the first meet out of the way instead of doing it in front of everyone. It was fine. We had a drink and a bit to eat. He’s doing well, still with his girlfriend and apparently less on the coke, more on the gym. It wasn’t particularly awkward, though he did bring up ‘us’ a few times. But I sat there, opposite him and thought, I spent 9.5 years with you…how? There were absolutely no residual feelings on my part, which was good, but all I could think about was The Frenchman, and how their qualities were so different. This feeling I have now is way deeper than the regret and sickly ugh-ness I felt after The Ex. And I didn’t like that. Nor did I like the fact that as soon as we walked into the pub, ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ by Bombay Bicycle Club came on. It’s a song that made me cry the first time I heard it, just because I think it’s beautiful. And all that was in my head was lying on a hotel bed, listening to it in Toulouse with The Frenchman. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard it played anywhere at all.

Sigh.

I hate this about myself. I hate that I feel things way later than I should. I hate that things might have been different if I’d have voiced my concerns before throwing my toys out of the pram. He’s since told me that there was no conspiracy for me to not to meet his friends. The first few times he wanted to spend time alone with me and the last time, they were busy. It was a major bone of contention for me and perhaps, if I’d have just said, I’m not happy with this, I’d have made a different decision.

I dunno. I miss him, a lot. And when he comments on my Facebook update leaving a trail of kisses in caps, it really hurts. For the first time, I can understand why people choose not to to keep in touch with exes, because it hurts more than it helps.

Oh well. As Freddie Mercury said, show must go on.

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.

And, I’ve snapped

I put a vague status update on Baitbook about delusion not being cool and since I’d forgotten to change the audience setting, guess who liked it? Yep, Mr Clingy. I then got an IM from him (making the term ‘instant messaging’ very appropriate) asking if I was OK and was I having trouble with my ex. To which I replied ‘No.’ That then got a ‘sorry, it’s none of my business’ reply from him and all he got was radio silence. What did he expect me to do? Give him the same run down I gave to you lovely people? Erm, no. I don’t know why he thinks we’re BFF’s or whatever, but it’s very annoying. I’ve now changed my audience settings and set my chat status to always show as being offline to him.

So bloody annoying.

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

There Were Three In The Bed….

Picture the scene. You’re lying cuddling and kissing in bed in a lovely post coital glow. Then to add to this lovely picture there’s a glow from your lovers phone. It’s a text. From the ex.

Sigh.

I had a lovely night with Mr Grey last night before he goes away for a few days, and after indulging in a bit of the other, the above happened. It’s becoming a bit of a habit that his phone will beep with a message from his ex when we’re together. This time she texted something trivial, something that no right minded person would text their ex. Not when there’s technology that can tell that person the same thing. When he told me it was a message from her, I said the ‘oh, ok’ and rolled over to check my own phone.

I should say that the green eyed monster does make an appearance now and then with me. And it’s starting to make its presence known. I already struggle to understand just how Mr Grey can be so amiable with the woman that not only broke his heart but did so in the most humiliating way. They have kids together, I get that, and so there will always be contact between them, but she seems to have a lot of access to him. I’m trying to keep things in check. It’s not attractive to have someone nagging jealously – trust me, I know. And we’re not ‘exclusively dating’ in so much as it hasn’t been said out loud. I’m just hoping that when things do get ‘official’, some boundaries will be set.

It’s put me in a bit of a foul mood this morning, which is a shame. It would be nice to spend some together without him having to cut things short thanks to his ex. They split a couple of years ago so I’m not thinking there’s a possibility of them getting back together – he’d need his head checking if they did. So that’s something I suppose.

I’m getting to the stage where I’m thinking certain conversations need to be had. There are some things he’s reluctant to talk about, plus, there’s the fact he’s unable to have more kids – a choice he himself made. When you’re 28 and hoping to settle down, this is a very important thing.

Why can’t things ever be straight forward?

Dating exploits and chick-lit cliches

I’ve been a busy bee since coming back from Ireland. After Mr Double-Barrel’s radio show, I’ve kept a low profile with him and as is always the way, he’s increased the communication. Facebook poking, messaging – you get the drift. We met up on Friday as planned to watch the football and I was as blasé with him as I could possibly be. The compliments were rolling off his tongue. I looked nice, I smelled nice, it felt like he hadn’t seen me for ages. I replied ‘well it has been 3 weeks.’ He was touchy feely and for once, I felt like he was on the back foot. I guess it helped that I got chatted up by a rather hot guy who was there with his friend. When Mr Double-Barrel and I left, he told me that the hot guy had asked if we were together. Mr Double-Barrel said ‘not exactly’ and when the hot guy asked if he could ask for my number, apparently Mr Double-Barrel said no. Dick. The hot guy was, well, hot and told me to come back to the bar the following Tuesday to watch the next match. I didn’t end up going, but he served his purpose. Mr Double-Barrel was reminded that I’m not reliant on him for a love life. We went back to his and I took full advantage of the situation. He asked when he’d see me again and we made loose plans to watch the next match on Tuesday. I’d call him I said and didn’t speak to him any more after that.

I suppose I should admit that I’ve signed up to eharmony. The reasons are threefold. One, Miss Sunshine and Miss Comeback are on it, and I thought I’d keep them company. Two, a character in the new book I’m writing joins a dating website so it’s research (kind of) and three, it’s keeping me busy and when it comes to dating I guess practice makes perfect. So I’d started chatting to a guy. Italian, chef, pretty cute in his pics. We met up on Sunday and all I can say is ‘yawn’. He spoke about food the whole time and was not as cute in reality. On the upside he was a genuinely nice person and introduced me to a new bar. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday night.

So when Tuesday rolled around, it was time to meet up with Mr Double-Barrel again. I knew straight away there was something up and when I asked him what it was, it turned out he’d had a crap day. First off? His ex, the one who I was stressing about, had a go at him. When I asked why, he said ‘because of you.’ Oh joy. Apparently, she saw the picture I posted of us on Facebook from Friday night. Now, it’s not like we were all over each other in the picture and it included the hot guy and his friend. But she didn’t like it, and apparently had a go at him. I took this as my opportunity to get some answers, so I asked what the deal was with her. I mean, she practically jumps on his facebook as soon as he posts anything. He said she’s still in love with him and he just wants to be friends. Apparently they were together for 3 months (so not as long as I thought) and it ended because he didn’t want a relationship. And he added that he still wasn’t sure he did. Next up, the girl his brother was hoping to start a relationship supposedly turned around and said it would never happen because she likes Mr Double-Barrel. So he was down because his brother hadn’t spoken to him since. To say the guy has baggage is an understatement. Proper Terminal 5 syndrome. I just kept asking questions and soaking it all in.

I told him he was going in the commitment-phobe box and he said he isn’t, he just doesn’t know what he wants. He’s a toxic guy, like the ones I read about, and I told him so. He said he likes me, blah blah, and ‘it can’t be easy for me not knowing what’s going on.’ What did I say to that? I said that if we’d have been having this conversation a couple of weeks ago I’d be upset, but since listening to his radio show in Ireland, I wasn’t actually that bothered. I added a nice little ‘no offence’ to that. Once I feel slighted, I can do a 180 lightening quick and it takes a LOT for that person to get back into my good books. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. He’s a good laugh, very fanciable, all those good things, but he is just too damned complicated for his own good and right now I’m not looking at him with doe-eyes for a relationship. In any case, we had a bite to eat, watched the match and then he invited me to a business meeting with a friend of his afterwards.

One thing that I do have to give Mr Double-Barrel props for is that he knows some interesting people. The guy he was going to meet was this American media mogul and I figured, why not? That and the fact their ‘meeting’ was on the roof terrace of the private members club, Soho House. Cue wine and lemon drop shots on the roof until 2.30am. Mr Double-Barrel took me back to his because the buses were likely to be full of drunken England fans, and we collapsed on the sofa to sleep. I had a slight variation on the walk of shame (even thought I’d done nothing remotely shameful. Not a drop of saliva was shared) the morning after in that I had to get from his flat in West London to mine in South, grab a shower, change my clothes and then head into work. I have to say, this year, I’ve lived out a few chick lit clichés and as a writer, this is all great stuff to use in my next masterpiece. He’s currently on holiday at that festival with the ex who loves him and who he’s leading on. I kinda feel a bit sorry for her actually.

Hm. What else? Oh yeah. The Frenchman. We’ve been messaging each other since Ireland and it looks like I’ll be going away for the weekend in August. And why the hell not?