Tuesday, September 26, 2006

adjusting

The first few weeks after a break-up can be pretty precarious. Whether hostile or amicable, heartbreaking or liberating, there is still a gap that occurs. A loss. There are memories to sift through and new time to fill. There is the requisite evening(s) spent getting piss drunk (which will probably happen on Friday). There is the requisite rebound hookup (which I am not looking for). There are the Actions of Questionable Wisdom, some of which involve getting piss drunk or hooking up on the rebound (or--hey, why not?--both!). There is uncertainty.

I have been bracing myself for some kind of flood of emotions, some tidal wave of grief, but it's not forthcoming. I feel good. Last night, I attended a concert with a friend and, at one point during the show, I thought: I'm happy. I was swept up in the music and fully in the moment. There were affectionate couples all around me, but I wasn't the least bit sad or wistful. Hopeful, more like.

Is something wrong with me? Am I in denial? Am I suppressing emotions? I honestly don't know. I must be a sick person because last Thursday an episode of Project Runway made teary (hey, my relationship had just ended, let a girl indulge) but breaking up with my boyfriend hours earlier didn't.

The only shaky moment I had was on Sunday night. I had spent the weekend with my family and dreaded going back to my apartment, which I knew would be empty. In the end I was okay, thanks to a DVD rental, my couch, and some cigarettes.

Oh yeah, I started smoking again. That is one of the things that helped get me through the weekend. Not healthy, I know, and hopefully temporary. I've also had trouble getting to sleep the last couple of nights, so I'm exhausted today, but I don't necessarily think that's a reflection on my emotional state. Oh, and there's one Action of Questionable Wisdom that involved sending an email to Film Felix (foolish, and I really don't want to go into it, but there you have it).

I'm trying not to avoid dealing with things, but I also don't want to dwell on bad feelings or wallow in self-pity. Even if I could go back I wouldn't, not to those passionless last few weeks, not to someone I now know isn't The One. Instead of moping, I'm throwing myself into my work, working on improving my diet and getting more exercise, and stuffing my calendar full of social activity. I'm not doing cartwheels over being single again and the accompanying possible long stretch of celibacy (oh, how I loathe the idea of random hookups and awkward first dates), but I'm dealing with it and trying to focus on what's there, not what's lacking.

Despite two of my friends getting married this year and two more getting engaged, I refuse to be one of those women who panic about when it's going to happen for them. I spent part of this year in a happy relationship, which is already pretty nice. If it's in the cards for me to be alone for the next few months--or even years--I'll try to handle the solitude with grace. Grace and lots of alcohol. Just kidding about the alcohol part. Sort of.

19 comments:

pookalu said...

i'm at that point in my life where those who've gotten married are all pregnant. no joke.

sigh.

Dolly said...

Well, at a recent social outing someone commented that first you go through the life phase where all your friends are getting married and then five years later you get to watch them get divorced. Cynical much?

Don't feel down, Pooka. Babies or no babies, you are making the world a better place.

Vespertine said...

Dolly-
Don`t beat yourself up about not being super weepy. It sounds to me like you were very clear on the reasons why the break up happened, and why it was actually for the best. Your reasons were all reaaalllly good reasons.

In my view, the reason why we get upset by breakups has more to do with feeling that there is unfinished business in the relationship. Sometimes, that shows up when our love is unrequited; and sometimes we feel like we never got a fair chance. In your situation, there was no unfinished business. The kindling expired, and the ashes were swept from the hearth. What`s to mourn?

No matter-- you had a good few months, and a few more happy memories to chalk up to youth. Have fun out there again-- and, remember not to mix your liquors on your binge. It`s the mixing that always does me in. ;)

Anonymous said...

Strong drink has been getting people through things like this for centuries. Sometimes the old ways are best.


Silver

raquel said...

Again, I'm completely identifying with this post. The very thought of how I'm going to feel and the emotions that will arise when I meet the next guy or hook up next, scare the living sh*t out of me. It actually more disgusts me, but eh I'll get over it. Trying to occupy myself, but it's really hard. I know I'll get over it, but it scares me. It scares me to let go of what he and I had, but I have to because he did. I really feel reading this and writing out my own feelings is helping me get through this.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the attachment to Film Felix. As I recall, that encounter never really amounted to anything. Why the attraction there?

Dolly said...

Vespertine,
Welcome back! I agree with what you said about unfinished business. I think a big reason I'm not in mourning is because I don't have a sense of loss for what could have been. It was everything it could have been and then it ran out of steam.

Silver,
Indeed. See you in AA. ;)

Raquel,
It is scary, but I try not to lose sight of the fact that life is unpredictable whether you have a partner or don't. Being in a relationship offers a certain amount of security, but it's not always guaranteed. And I know what you mean about the next guy. That's something that will take a little time for me to be ready for. The idea alone is pretty daunting at the moment.

Anonymous,
Good question. Maybe it's the maddening human trait of wanting what you can't have? Maybe it's that I felt like we had a real connection. Maybe I was hoping to help him with his documentary. Why do some people leave an impression on us and others don't? Hard to say. I don't know, but it's definitely time to put him out of my mind now.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for some time, now.

We're very similar, from what I can tell. I'm a writer and recently left my boyfriend of 1.5 years, who I once thought was "The One" to move to London for a job opportunity.

My friends don't understand why I'm not upset. When you are a rational person, and you KNOW that you shouldn't be together, it's just not difficult, at all.

I love your writing style, and I wish you all the best. I'm sure your life will continue to kick ass.

Women's lives should not be judged primarily on their relationships.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Uh - random thought here (that sounds though out but might be way off):

You are trying to fit this experience into the wrong set of stereotypes. The 'issue' here is not whether or not you are going to feel a lot of pent-up loss and sadness feelings about the end of your relationship. You are not going to have any problems with this break-up.

The strong emotions that you can't quite connect with right now have much more to do with your deep deep anxiety about who you are - particularly, who is Dolly, singular, without a romantic conquest or partner to define her.

You have repeatedly demonstrated since this blog started that you cannot stand a vacuum in your sexual life. You have to be trying something - it is really really soothing to either be flirting and hooking up (arty adam, etc.) or trying a relationship (David).

I think the smoking and the - sorry - almost inevitable drunken hook up are just more signals that your core is really shook up about how none of those things reall satisfy some hunger way down in there.

Stepping out of the relationship with David is just bringing all this unresolved stuff with yourself back to the surface.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

BTW - I think you're in a great position. In this kind of situation I think you are anxiious because you are truly open to the possibility of a NEW way out of this conunndrum. That's scary!

Yes, you may try some of the old stand-by solutions (another several month boy friend, a little drunken nookie,etc.) but you really may have to connect with someone different than your 'types' from the past, and you may have to relate in a new way. It's exciting and terrifying. Can often feel nauseating and like depression. Don't be fooled - it's growing.

Anonymous said...

Wooo, strangerintheseparts- that post was heavy! My brain is still smoking;)
Back to my question about Film Felix- there is definitely something in the whole "wanting what you can't have" thingy- I can relate in my own life. You might have had a connection- but you had one with BFDavid too, in the beginning, as I recall. In fact- there were quite a few glowing reports of him in your previous blogging.
I'm glad that you aren't going there- I think FF is a real red herring. (Is that the expression?!)

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Ditto what anonymous said, re: FF the Red Herring.

Think of Film Felix as all your most compulsive bad relationship habits distilled into a concentrated powder.

Anon - was my post heavy bad or heavy good?

Dolly said...

Anonymous 11:43,
It sounds like we do have some similarities. I hope you're having an awesome time in London (I've had some fabulous adventures in the UK). Actually, I don't feel like I'm being judged on my relationship status. There are so many people around me in the same boat that it would be pretty silly to do so.

Stranger,
Wow, how much do I owe you for the analysis? Seriously, though, I think your comment is pretty insightful, though I would say I'm in a really good place right now. I think I was going by past behavior patterns, whereas I like to believe I've actually done some evolving as a person. Can't wait to see what comes next.

Anonymous 2:03,
If you read through the blog, you'll see many a glowing report of guys I met. I think Film Felix got under my skin because of all the fatalistic elements surrounding our meeting. Though it was a lesson to temper romanticism with a bit more realism.

Jack Roy said...

A word of unsolicited advice---be careful with the alcohol. My last breakup saw me trying to forget everything I didn't want to remember at the bottom of a glass of beer, which only resulted in me forgetting / not being able to concentrate on everything else. Then the next day I'd just feel terrible and would think about it a lot and the whole cycle would start anew.

Exercise seemed to help. I'm not a gym rat---I'm not even in shape---but endorphins seemed to work.

Chris said...

Always better to be single than unhappy. No need to cling to something that isn't working based on the idea of it. This is probably better for both of you. There's nothing wrong with you taking that well.

Dolly said...

Jack,
As much as I love a good happy hour, I am pretty good at moderation, with the exception of a night out on the town here and there. I couldn't agree more on the endorphins--I love the natural high I feel from a good workout.

Chris,
I wasn't unhappy in the relationship. It just became a little too comfortable too soon. I'm doing great being single again, though. I forgot how much fun it can be!

Anonymous said...

The smoking seems like a disconnect. Sounds like there are feelings percolating under the surface, waiting to be looked at. I remember all of the joy you expressed over the beginnings of ex David; the hopes and expectations. Even though this breakup sounds like the right decision for you, it's a loss to be mourned -- and mourning that loss doesn't mean you've made a mistake. It only means that endings, even the most justified, are usually sad. Don't run from that, Dolly. It only prolongs the inevitable.

My two cents. Take them at their current market value. ;)

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