Endings and endings

It’s a kind of hard to write much about the breakup with Stephanie, like most of our relationship it was pretty unremarkable.  I suppose that’s a good thing but it does complicate writing about it.

When I first met Stephanie and we started going out I knew I was going to break her heart.  While we’re the same age, she was far less experienced than me in relationships.  She still harbored fairy tale dreams.  It was interesting because on a superficial level she’s far more successful, good professional job, connections, but behind closed doors it was like she was 17 instead of in her thirties.  I’m not going to go into her personal life here but she had some familial issues at a young age that delayed her sexual/romantic life.  Think forty year old virgin but not quite as bad.

Besides all of that, she was almost the exact opposite of everyone that I’ve gotten involved with.  While she lacked in the self confidence area, she was also very nice, very caring, very laid back, very easy to get along with.  There were no roller coasters with her.  One of the reasons we dated so long was because it was an experimentation on my part.  If you always date the same type of women and expect different results… well, I’m sure you’ve heard that quote about insanity.  It was time to try something different.

Over time it became obvious to me that things weren’t going to work out long term.  I tried several times to keep her from getting too invested, as I knew it wasn’t going to last, but it was apparent that that wasn’t working.

For example, shortly after we started dating I told her that my stay here was only temporary, that in the next year my job was going to transfer to the west coast.  In male speak that means the relationship has a shelf life.  At first she seemed to accept that but after a while I could tell that she was getting too attached.

Then, a couple weeks ago she casually mentioned that she had glanced at real estate in the area I was getting moved to.  That was like a punch to the gut.  Wait… what?  No.  No no no.  That’s when I knew I had to break things off.  The longer I waited the worse it was going to be for her.

So, this evening I told her I couldn’t keep doing this.  Thankfully, part of her had seen this coming over the last few weeks and it wasn’t as bad as I worried it would be.  There were a few tears but only for a minute or so.  Honestly, I handled her as carefully as I could.  I did it in person, put all the blame on myself, told her how great she is, and hung around long enough to make sure she was okay.  She’s a sweet girl who deserves happiness, I’m just not the guy to give it to her.  I also told her I’d really like it if we could stay friends.  With how well she handled it, being friends might even work out.  We’ll see.

What I worried about was that she’s the type of person that blames herself for everything, no matter what.  She’s very sensitive to everything.  That’s why I was so careful with her.  I didn’t see any evidence of her blaming herself this evening, so hopefully that will be minimized with how I tried to handle things.

While I gave her a plethora of valid reasons why this wasn’t working for me, all my fault and all true, I did omit a few things.  The biggest problem is that I’m completely emotionally unavailable right now.  Over the last couple years I’ve had my heart broken too many times, with breaks too short in between to heal.

I picture our hearts like they’re made of porcelain.  When he fall for someone we hand it to them, if they drop it it’ll shatter.  We pick up the pieces, with enough time they heal back together.  If there isn’t enough time between breaks the pieces are broken into even smaller bits and it takes longer to heal.  Right now, my heart looks like it’s been through a war zone, put back together with super glue and duct tape.  It’s so bad that I can’t even consider letting someone touch it, let alone handing it to someone.  Even if Stephanie had been perfect it wouldn’t have mattered, she never really had a chance.

Now that I am a single man once again I’m going to be spending a lot of time alone, healing, and maybe sometime in the future I’ll be ready to risk falling again.  And, hopefully, Stephanie can find the right guy for her.

11 thoughts on “Endings and endings

  1. That was very sweet of you to make sure through the break up that Stephanie would be okay. You did the right thing for both of you. Healing is important. Taking the time for yourself is equally important. Like you said, even if you had the right girl in front you right now, if you’re emotionally unavailable, it just doesn’t stand a chance.

  2. It’s very commendable that you are able to recognize what your heart is/is not capable of and to act with maturity and sensitivity. I mean this sincerely, not as condescending. There are a lot of guys out there who aren’t that attuned, or if they are, they don’t always communicate it when it matters to someone else.

    • I’m definitely not always so good or so attuned, but I try. There are a lot of people in general that aren’t very attuned or communicate well. It’s one of the things that I’ve put a lot of work into over the years. I grew up in a family that never communicated, something that Cat and I struggled with the first couple years we were married. I’ve had to do a lot of learning and growing since then.

    • I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always good in break ups, not always a nice guy, but she deserved the extra effort. The world would be a much better place if all such situations were handled better. Something worth striving for.

  3. I think it’s great you have the self-awareness that even with the right person, it’s not the right time. Letting yourself fully heal should come back to you in what you attract in the future. I hope you and Stephanie will be able to forge a friendship in the end.

    • I think a lot of the problems in relationships is that one or the other person hasn’t allowed themselves to heal from past hurts. It’s easier to distract ourselves with someone (or something) else than it is to focus on ourselves and get to where we need to be inside.

      I’m hopeful that she and I can make friendship work. We have a lot in common, a lot of the same interests. Hell, even her skittish dog likes me. So, I’m cautiously optimistic.

      • That you’ve learned puts you ahead of a lot of people. Myself, it’s something I’m constantly having to relearn and remind myself of because it’s so much easier to distract oneself than dig deeper. That’s something this upcoming generation with their smartphone, instant gratification addiction, is going to have a very difficult time with.

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