Saturday, September 23, 2006

post mortem

First of all, thank you to everyone who emailed, called, or sent text messeges of support. I appreciate every kind word and thought.

I guess this is where I offer an explanation...

It didn't come out of nowhere. There were signs of waning along the way, some little, some significant. He initiated the break-up, but I agreed with everything and then some. I had been experiencing doubt for several weeks; I just didn't vocalize them to him. Let's backtrack.

I guess it began the night that Willow and I went to Bar K a couple of Fridays ago. It was just the two of us, until we started chatting with a couple of guys, one of which I set Willow up with. I got a little dressed up that night and felt sexier and more attractive than I had in a while. Which isn't to say that I didn't feel attractive around Ex David, but things had become a little too comfortable, a little too routine. Our interactions had grown somewhat predictable, which I fully acknowledge was my fault as much as his. However, that night with Willow and the guys felt like being single again. There was that exciting anything-can-happen atmosphere in the air. In fact, I could have hooked up with one of the guys from Bar K--there was definite interest--but I didn't.

I was proud of passing what I felt like was some kind of fidelity test. I thought it would strengthen my relationship with Ex David, but over the course of the next week, something strange started to happen. I started thinking about the men in my past-- not wondering what it would be like to be with them, but just recalling the passion I had with them, wondering if it would ever return to my current relationship. I also started thinking about Film Felix--I mean, I do pass the block he lives on nearly every day. I know Felix is more of a figment, a representation of the fantasy, the "what if," but I also know it wasn't a good sign that I was wondering about him again.

Film Felix wasn't my main focus, though. I thought of the stumbling blocks Ex David and I had. His acting aspirations were a real concern. While he had taken some time off, he was keen to return to the stage and I dreaded that day. He was briefly cast in a play a couple of months ago and I had a preview of the dent it made in his schedule. The way I saw it, in a worst-case scenario he would be a struggling and frustrated artist; in a best-case scenario, his time would be consumed with rehearsing and performing.


This ties into the next concern I had which was, sadly, money. Next year, I will finally have my college debt completely paid off and will be in a better position financially. Even though it will take me many years to accumulate, I have started setting aside money to buy a home. Ex David has a considerable amount of debt, which could take him a decade or more to pay off. In the long term, this could have become an issue. Short of a major windfall, it meant that if we had ever gotten married, his debt would have become my debt. Ex David never traveled much because he couldn't afford it, whereas that is something I love to do and spend money on, even if it means abusing my credit cards. Since he is against going into further debt with credit, we would not have been able to take a vacation together, at least not for a long time, whereas I'm already thinking about what exotic location I'll visit next year.

Speaking of location, Ex David and I live in different parts of city and are fiercely loyal to our respective boroughs. He finds my borough too suburban whereas I find his too chaotic and crowded. This would have been a problem further down the line if we had decided to move in together.

Two other issues were pets and kids. I look at all the dog owners in my neighborhood with extreme envy, and it killed me that Ex David was not only allergic, but refused to even entertain the idea of getting a hypoallergenic dog someday. He also seemed pretty uncertain about having kids, which is something I am becoming more sure of the older I get. I'm not looking to have a giant brood, but the idea of having a home five to ten years from now, one with a dog and a rugrat or two, is pretty appealing. Considering that Ex David is eight years older than me, if we were a good match, it would be part of his extended life plan by now, too.

There was also an overall decline in sparkage. I felt a bit like Ex David was taking me for granted, so I started making more plans with friends, and also found I enjoyed the time I spent on my own. At the same time, when we did see each other, we were bickering more and more, about ridiculous things (never in the history of the world has there been such a hostile discussion on the proper way to clean a wok). It was becoming increasingly apparent that we were on different wavelengths.

I didn't give up on things because, despite my reservations, I know David is a good man. And if it comes to choosing love or money, I will go with the former every time. I also didn't want to give up at the first sign of difficulty; I didn't want to be one of those people that chases that first euphoric buzz and then leaves when things get a little more settled and a little less exciting. However, I did see the end coming. Last week, when my parents said they'd like to have David over for dinner this weekend, I told them I preferred to visit alone. I held off on sending the RSVP card for Fuchsia's wedding next month, because in the back of my mind I wasn't sure if it would be two of us attending. So when we sat down to talk on Thursday and he said he wanted to break up, I wholeheartedly agreed. We just didn't have enough common interests or enough of a spark to sustain the relationship, and it ran its natural course.

Ultimately, Ex David decided that he needed someone who shared his involvement in theater and preferably someone closer to his age. Ultimately, I decided I need someone who is a bit more urbane, is pretty sure he wants to have a family someday (and pets!), and preferably someone more stable in his career. I also want passion that can be sustained longer than a few months. I know that in most cases it does fade over time, but I also know there's more out there for me. A lot more.

Our talk was calm and civilized, friendly and not the least bit heated. Even our hug goodbye was flat, it itself an indication of just how over things were. We are going to try to maintain a friendship after a suitable amount of downtime.

I didn't cry about it and still haven't.

Maybe I am numb, maybe it still hasn't hit me. I mean, I might have a big ol' breakdown tomorrow, but right now I'm not scared of the potential uncertainty and loneliness of being single again. Instead, I'm optimistic and looking forward to what is on the horizon. After all, the show must go on.

22 comments:

BG said...

"I was proud of passing what I felt like was some kind of fidelity test. I thought it would strengthen my relationship with Ex David, but over the course of the next week, something strange started to happen. I started thinking about the men in my past-- not wondering what it would be like to be with them, but just recalling the passion I had with them"

This is exactly what I felt with my ex-gf. I broke up like 3 weeks ago after an 8 month relationship. I felt it was the only thing to do, I wanted to be honest to myself and to her. It's weird, I don't feel as bad as I thought I would feel -- that's what's creepy, haha. It's just "life goes on". We met up like last week and she actually bored me :-\

What a pity, eh? For 8 months she was the coolest chick I knew, and now that's somehow gone.

But hey, lookey here.. the future's right in front of me ^_^

G'luck with your situation!


Carpe noctem!
BG

Dolly said...

BG,

I'm sorry to hear your relationship didn't work out, either. Sometimes these things just reach a natural end.

Having said that, I love what a positive attitude you have! Carpe noctem, indeed. I have no doubt that the right people are out there for us, it's just a matter of being patient and living the best life we can until we bump into them. Good luck to you, too!

raquel said...

Thank you for continuing to be a good inspiration. I have been reading your blogs and completely identified with so many of them. I read your entry saying you and BF David broke up yesterday and mentioned to my boyfriend (tadpole) that you broke up with David and today he sprung on me that he felt we needed to break up.

I did not handle it as well as it sounds like you did. I did a lot of crying, but in the end I know I can't make him stay where he doesn't want to. He felt our connection had dwindled and felt we hadn't progressed. I saw the signs in the past week, but wanted to think since this was our first big problem, we'd make it.

After reading this entry I'm feeling a little stronger. I love him still, but right now I guess we're not meant to be. It's ok and I will be ok in the end.

-Raq

Dolly said...

Raquel,

Believe me, I have had my share of break-ups that have left me completely despondent and crying for days. I'm so sorry to learn of your heartbreak. What has helped me put things in perspective is to think of this as another part of my journey and just believe that I'll meet someone right for me when it's time.

Um Hi said...

I really admire your optimism and positive thinking! Carpe Diem indeed.

Or my other favorite motto: "Next." Good things could just be waiting around the corner!

Ollie said...

I'm sorry things didn't work out but, as you said, it seems like it was becoming obvious the relationship didn't have much steam in it. It would have been worse if you had decided to compromise and give up the dreams you had for your life in exchange for just a lukewarm relationship.

One thing I'm very happy about is that Kevin & I are both sure that we will have a pug one day, preferrably named Gorbachev. ;-)

Me said...

I think you know what you want and need, or maybe you know better now what you want and need from a relationship and that's what you take from it.

And screw that, dog allergies...THAT would be a dealbreaker for me. :)

Meg said...

When you're feeling up to it, I'd love to go out on the town with you. I've always met interesting people when I was with you, and now that I'm back to wanting to date instead of randomly hookup, I think we could be good winggals.

BG said...

Noctem, juliette, carpe noctem! ;-)

Damn It Anyway said...

This calls for BEER!!!

Tracy Q said...

I just stumbled into your blog by accident for the first time and read the post-mortem. It sounds like you have it sorted out. I wish my own break-ups had all been this calm and rational! But I'm intrigued about -- what drew you together?

"What did you see in each other" sounds too dismissive. Still I'm curious to know what you initially liked about each other? And how long did this go on? If this is just too nosy, please ignore. I'm fascinated with relationships, like everyone I guess. It's amazing how attracted/attractive we can be to people who don't share our goals or even our tastes. What is up with that? Perhaps over the millenia it's how the human race has survived... While you wouldn't be happy living with him longterm, your combined DNA might have created -- who knows?

I also found myself identifying with your position, even though I want the opposite from life - no kids, no dogs. In fact, I ended one relationship over this issue -- (plus, he wanted me to learn how to drive?!?) Like you, I felt that I should try to make it work (for awhile) because he was a wonderful guy.

I managed to escape driving lessons, and last I heard he was getting engaged. As for staying friends, fingers crossed. I have become good friends with many exes, but some just won't cooperate with the friends strategy. Still, I think exes can be a girl's best friend...

Elle said...

I'm just catching up now...so sorry that things didn't work out, but I'm glad you have a clear perspective on why they didn't.

Break ups always suck, but it's best when you can keep your head on straight and stay optimistic.

Seems that a quality girl's night out is in order!!

Anonymous said...

At some time you have to leave the allegro for the adagio. If you can’t do that, there’s no way you’ll survive when you haven’t slept properly in weeks, it’s three in the morning, and you’re up to your elbows in baby/puppy shit. I ignored those signs when they first appeared, and now I’m watching my relationship circle the drain after twelve years.

Smile if you can – things could be worse.


Silver

Dolly said...

Juliette,
I'm not always so optimistic, but I'm trying not to wallow right now.

Ollie,
A pug named Gorbechev sound so adorable! It'll probably be years before I feel responsible enough to own a pet, but it is part of the dream.

Me,
There were a lot of good things about the relationship that made the dog and cat allergy okay, but now I would definitely prefer to be with someone more pet-friendly.

Meg,
A night on the town sounds great. Thanks for your sweet text.

DiA,
Substitute rum or tequila for beer and you're on.

Tracey,
We were drawn together by a number of things, apart from general good chemistry. We both have a strong interest in creative and jobs relating to the arts. We were both looking to dispense with games and other trickery that ocurrs in dating and develop an honest and caring relationship. We accepted certain things about each other that others might have trouble with (for example, he found my blog and was totally cool about it, even when I went on to write about him). We were both pretty open-minded when it came to sex and in general had grown up attitudes about how to behave in a relationship. However, as time went on it became clear that we needed more to keep us together. But it was a good five months. No regrets.

Elle,
Yes to a girl's night out! Let's definitely round up the ladies soon!

Dolly said...

Silver,

How about going from allegro to moderato? I don't think that's wanting too much.

I don't know how I'd handle a twelve-year relationship ending. I'm so sorry.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Hey Dolly -

I think it's much harder when the relationship ends and you can't understand why your were in it (like what BG is going through).

You sound very confident and clear about what you enjoyed with David and it just didn't move to the next level. After the impulsiveness and wild-times last winter you landed in a genuine and real, albeit short - medium length, relationship.

Sounds like you'll be better than fine....

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Moderato would be delightful.


Silver

Stretch said...

Dolly--

Sorry to hear the news, but glad to hear it was amicable (at least sounds that way). You'll find your dog lover when the time is right.

~Stretch

Anonymous said...

After a few bourbons, I can’t see where you went wrong. Sometimes we see a spark and the the idea of a moth moving toward a flame takes on a certain perfect logic. Decades of country music tell us that sometimes the spark goes out, and that you’re as likely to notice its absence when you encounter a sunbeam as you are if you encounter a gin-soaked bar room queen in Memphis.

A la matin.


Silver

Dolly said...

Stranger,
Yes, having an understanding on why it ended and also not having it take you completely by surprise makes it easier to deal with. Better than fine, I like that!

Stretch,
Haha, I hope you're right.

Silver,
I don't like to think of it in terms of where I may or may not have gone wrong. There are no do overs, so it's all about moving forward. But I do appreciate kind words. I hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

I have found that relationships evolve over the years- the hot sparks you feel in the beginning give way to deeper passion and intimacy if the relationship changes and grows as it should. It sounds like you made the right decision- it's important to have similar feelings about the practical aspects of life- those are the things that most cause friction in a relationship in the long run.

Dolly said...

Anonymous,
I used to think that focusing to much on the practical aspects was unromantic, but as I get older, I understand how important those considerations are. Sure, there's a certain amount of compromise necessary, but a common wavelength is is crucial. Which is a fancy way of me saying I don't think I could date another actor.