Girl Talk: On Carpetbombing A Relationship

“It was like I had to do something serious, something to cause a rift, that we couldn’t come back from.”

That was my friend Caitlin*. She stopped me dead in my tracks. We were walking off brunch last Sunday afternoon, a brunch filled with sharing our mutual dating tales and reminiscing about our past relationships that brought us to where we are today. Caitlin started telling me for the first time about her ex-boyfriend, a guy she had been with for four years in her late teens and early-20s. They’d fallen in love, moved in together and settled down seemingly happily. Then Caitlin started to feel anxious. She was too young to settle down. She wanted to “go out.” She wanted to have more life experiences that didn’t necessarily involve him. It wasn’t that he was doing anything wrong; in fact, she still recalled him sweetly. So she started to sabotage the relationship, to hurt him so badly that they had to break up.

She had carpetbombed the relationship. She needed to carpetbomb the relationship.

Like my friend Caitlin, Ex-Mr. Jessica had a relationship that had no major issues (no fighting, no lying, etc.) that he wanted to end. I loved him, truly and deeply. He had to do something to cause a rift and make me fall out of love with him. He had to create a puncture wound from which we couldn’t heal.

I probed Caitlin for more answers, mostly because she’s one of the last people I would suspect of being intentionally hurtful. She seemed unable to explain it herself, so she quoted her own mother. “My mom got it,” she said. “My mother is very wise. I told her what I was doing and she said, ‘I get it, you need him stop being in love with you.’”

And something clicked for me, sort of. For the majority of the months after Ex-Mr. Jessica and I broke up, I carried around a lot of anger about the way he treated me during the breakup. I didn’t deserve to be treated so poorly by him and I guess I was pretty bitter. I didn’t understand why he didn’t understand me, why he valued me so little that he thought it was acceptable to treat me like crap. Then, about a month ago, I had a realization. I finally realized the way other people behave is a reflection of them, not me. All of a sudden I realized his behavior said something about him, but not about me.

Caitlin’s revelation about her own nasty breakup was the next logical step in this. Like Caitlin, Ex-Mr. Jessica and I had a relationship that had no major issues (no fighting, no lying, etc.) that he wanted to end. I loved him, truly and deeply. He had to do something to cause a rift and make me fall out of love with him. He had to create a puncture wound from which we couldn’t heal. And like Caitlin, he did.

After the breakup, like any other heartbroken young woman, I listened to a lot of music that let me wallow in my feelings. One of the songs that always helped me to feel better was “Shrug,” by Ani Di Franco, which perfectly encapsulated the way I felt I was being treated:

“what’s with that halo hovering
above that thick skull
spare me
if I do say so, I think you’re covering
‘course there was nothing
could’ve prepared me

for the side effect of this dirty drug
the way you punish me and then you shrug

what’s with that phone call, baby
it’s like you’re trying
just trying to crush me
do you feel stronger each time you push me, dear
did you tell your mom you carpet bombed
before you left here

and is it just the side effect of this dirty drug
or does each apology sound more like a shrug?

are you at home now with your kitty cats?
are you just at home now with the way that you act?
do you split the rent there with all your secrets?
or do you just pretend to all your friends
they’re uninvited guests?

yes and when you want it tidy tell me
can you still dispel me,
sweep me neatly under the rug?
does your conscience ever mention
the way that you treat me
or do you just fend it off with a shrug?”

The lyrics that kept spoke to me the most — as you’ve probably figured out by now — were the ones about carpetbombing. That is exactly how I felt: we had this tidy little domestic situation that had to be torn to shreds so badly that I wouldn’t want it anymore. Of course, I wish Ex-Mr. Jessica hadn’t behaved this way and had found some way to let me down easier. It would have made the past eight months easier on my sense of security and scrambled sense of self-worth.

But if Caitlin is any indication, it is not pleasant to be the carpetbomber, either. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, or hers, but it explains a little bit why people do the things they do. She isn’t shrugging; she actually feels extremely guilty. It’s been years since her own breakup and she still feels terrible about what she did. I only hope her ex-boyfriend is at the same place that I hope to be someday: that he looks back on that time of his life, on that puncture wound that’s healed over as a scab, and he just shrugs.

[LyricsFreak.com]

Want to contact the writer of this post? {encode=”jessica@thefrisky.com” title=”Email her”}!

Image via Thinkstock

Posted Under: , , ,
  • Zergnet: Simply Irresistible

  • HowAboutWe

  • afc-right-ad

  • Popular
  • afc-right-ad-2

  • We’re Loving