“Oh god, mom, he broke up with me!” I blubbered over the phone, I was crying so hard my face resembled a marshmallow.
I had decided to stay in bed for two days and was starting to become very ripe and slightly unhinged. Needless to say I was not taking this well at all.
“Should I call him? How do you just leave someone? I really needed him and he dumped me!” I said between sniffles.
My relationship with my now ex had taken a turn for the worse over the past five months. I was stressed out at my job, and had decided without much consideration to go back to school full-time. My mood had changed adversely, and I had proven to be very difficult to be around. I became needy and mean, all at once. It had come to the point where I barely even recognized myself.
“Mom?” I stammered, there was silence and you could hear a pin drop.
I heard her sigh; I could tell she was trying to choose her next words carefully as to not disrupt the very fine line that I was teetering on.
“Listen baby, I know you are hurting, and you loved him. But, you don’t want to seem desperate. He obviously was having trouble handling you acting that way. Why don’t you take this time to be alone, maybe you need some space to breathe and time to reflect.”
She waited for my response, but all I could do was cry.
At that moment I didn’t want space to breathe and most certainly did not want time to be alone with my crazy thoughts — which included delusional simulations and constant acquisitions like: Maybe he met someone new, or Maybe he met someone new and he was having sex with her and he wants to marry her. I was devastated and wanted to know that the person I loved would and could handle me being a clingy emotional mess. That even when I was behaving poorly, our love would prove stronger than my manic mood swings.
As the days passed and I was able to think more clearly, I realized one huge thing. I was being very unrealistic. Personally speaking, I had always been under the impression that no matter how insane I acted my boyfriend should always be there for me. That it didn’t matter if my demands were outlandish or impractical, he had committed to me and with that came all of my wonderful “quirks” that I always assumed were so enduring. Of course, I was going to be prone to those swings of moodiness that afflict a woman sometimes, but did I have the right to act like a snotty princess? Sadly, the answer that I knew I had to accept was, no, I did not. It was clear that I needed to do things differently or be banished to the realm of women who always blamed the men they were dating and never took the time for self-evaluation. No one is perfect, and yes, my ex did things that I felt were annoying, but he was a good man, and those are sometimes hard to find.
I decided to ask my friends if they noticed any bad habits I had when I was dating. Sure enough, they had noticed … a lot. I was told by one friend that, “You emasculate and boss men around like no one’s business. Dudes look slightly hen-pecked when you’re finished with them.” She then added, matter-of-factly, that I should give back all of those testicles I had been collecting. I was dumbfounded. My newfound knowledge was like a proverbial slap in the face. How did I miss this? This went against everything I held near and dear when it came to dating — the main one being “It’s always his fault and never mine.”
I began to revaluate myself and the way I treated others. During this time, I left my ex alone, which is actually harder than one could imagine. This might seem pathetic, but I wanted to call him every day. But for once I had to make things better, not rely on someone else to clean up the chaos.
When the time came to do the dreaded exchanging of personal property, I had decided that I was going to ask him if we could give it another chance. If he said ‘no,’ I swore to myself that I would not weep and lay in bed ordering empanadas while watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the aftermath.
We met on neutral grounds, and I explained to him that I was sorry and asked if he would give us another chance.
“You shouldn’t have to change to be with me,” he said.
“I’m not changing just to be with you,” I explained, although our breakup was the catalyst. “I’m trying to be better because no matter what happens between us, I want to be a good person. I don’t want to be that woman that everyone dated and regretted.”
He looked at me and gathered his belongings.
“I need to think about it.” His tone was flat and dry.
I gave him more space and a few days later he called. I looked at the phone and let it ring a few times while I gained my composure. “No crying,” I muttered to myself. When I answered the phone, I launched into a prepared speech.
“It’s alright if you don’t want to give it another chance, and I understand why. I know I was a pain in the ass and I guess I asked because I still love you, but I want you to be happy,” I blurted out. I took a deep breath and exhaled. There was a long pause, and I waited.
“Let’s try this again,” he said.
I smiled to myself. I had decided for the first time to change and fix something about me. I deviated from the plan I usually followed and actually came out on top.