Life is Busting out ALL Over!

What they never tell you about break ups…

Posted on: September 8, 2009

Growing up, I usually had my head in the clouds, most definitely in a book, and I didn’t pay much attention to where I was going… which is what made following the crowd so appealing: the hard work was already taken care of. However, I have always had instinctual awareness that I wasn’t going to leave many broken hearts in my wake.  Being a girl “who goes from one boyfriend to the next” was just something I wasn’t designed for.

I’ve had a feeling it would be a slow road for me love wise. That it might take a while to find the right person. Now that I’m in my thirties and the first round of divorces and babies have already hit, certainly being cautious plays a role. But more than that, and always that, it takes a lot to turn my head and take notice. There is a certain mix that seems to be a formula for me, and it doesn’t roll past me very often. I also know that I’m a certain mix too. So when these certain mixes flow past each other, it’s some heady stuff. And also FINALLY because it feels like this only happens on the order of an Olympic timeline or Halley’s Comet.

The short story is that I stand in the wake of meaningful, life-lessons-I-needed-at-the-time, I’ll-never-forget-his-name relationships. Not a lot of them but holy was there stuff going on in them. The kind where even if you know the break up is coming, you continue to shoulder the burden of everything you possibly can hold to make up the difference… if only to delay the inevitable.  You did this. You owed it to your heart, who invested so much, to stay afloat just a little while longer (maybe so you can prepare it, too) because when it’s done, the heart is done and in such miniscule pieces that they only energy they can muster is to just lie there rather than begin to mend together.

My most recent breakup, nearly two years ago, was the most significant for me. Both in disappointment but also effects of the relationship. That relationship and then that break up were instrumental in pushing me towards the life I lead now. The one that scratched the itch towards thinking about grad school, then urging me to go, then reevaluating where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, since it was no longer necessary to find ‘whatever I could’ in attempt to go back to Chicago and any next steps of the relationship. I know in my bones that had I not met R, fallen in love, pushed, scratched, and fought for that relationship to work, and then resigned internally to existing in a relationship with an expiration date I so desparately wanted to push back, I would never have moved to Austin and met and fallen in love with Zack Morris.

That’s right… fallen in love. I have and I continue to do on a daily basis. It’s pretty amazing.

But what I didn’t know was that the hardest part of a break up is NOT getting over him. The hardest part of a break up is resetting your own relationship clock, it’s the invisible baggage you bring with you.  When the break up was hitting me the hardest, my friends and I discussed what I had learned and I realized what I “needed” out of a relationship. We all thought it was good to go through this process so that I can determine if I’m getting what I need out of a relationship. I could look back and see the holes that would need to be filled in the future.

What they don’t tell you about break ups is that is not him at all that affects you the most. It’s the relationship. It’s the pre-set expectations that if any behavior in ‘future relationship’ happens to fall anywhere close to the “WARNING SIGNS!! Behavior similar to your previously failed relationship!! CAUTION” buckets you’ve placed, you will be disappointed. You might generalize that your return on almost investment isn’t going to break even at all and what the hell, NOT AGAIN. Woe is me.

But you’d be stupid and you’d be wrong. And it’s not until you realize that maybe the reason he hasn’t called you all day is because you told him you had to get some stuff done for work so he was WAITING for you to call, not that once again, you seem to be a low priority and HELL if you’re going to wait around for the phone to ring for some guy to call you. And once you’d made dinner, you realize, crap, was I supposed to call him? So you do. And it goes to voicemail and you leave a message. And then you put your phone in your bag so you can’t hear or see and obsess over it. Which is helpful when you miss his two calls immediately, so hours later when you finally notice he called back, Oops, you call him and find out that he’s on his way over because he was worried something was wrong. And the moment he comes into your apartment, everything feels better, all of your anxiety GONE, I can’t believe I ever freaked out.  When he asks, “What happened today?”, it will feel like a wall of water rushing through Titanic, the memory wherein you remember the conversation of that morning…

Crap. It was  me.

So those bags I’ve got the ones filled with disappointment, being a low priority, “It never seems to be enough“. Those? I lit those on fire.

Because he, the one I’m most concerned with, the one that I love, does not deserve my pre-set expectations. Especially expectations that were set by someone else.  He does not deserve the percentage of The Real Me I’m willing to give because I’m trying to protect All of Me. He should get all of it. And a blank canvas with nothing painted on it but the colors of getting to know each other, the good and the bad, our real colors, the ones that made us fall in love.

Now I know that no matter how much I think that ratty old luggage is trying to protect me, it’s just weighing me down.  I’m starting to believe packing lighter makes me happier.


1 Response to "What they never tell you about break ups…"

Brilliant. Especially this part: But what I didn’t know was that the hardest part of a break up is NOT getting over him. The hardest part of a break up is resetting your own relationship clock, it’s the invisible baggage you bring with you.

You are so right. Thanks for reminding me…

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musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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