Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The X Files

Breaking up Breaking up is never easy. You might even say that it's hard to do.

I'm certainly glad I don't have to deal with that mess anymore, because at their mildest, they're unpleasant, and at their worst, they can become ugly.

I've been the breaker upper and I've been the breakup-ee. As the giver, I've run the gamut from "Okay, that's cool, I understand" to "You are such a cold-hearted bitch." As the recipient, I've taken it hard enough where it took me a good month to come out of it, and other times I felt a sense of relief. With one notable exception, someone who I consider a good friend now (I chalk it up to him being just a really nice guy, and it was many years ago…he knows who he is), I don't stay in touch with exes.

People handle things in different ways. Some people remain friends, and seem to feel proud about that. "Yeah, we broke up a couple of years ago, but he's still one of my best friends." Screw that. What planet are you living on? My way is that once I get to the point where I'm done, I am really done. It takes a lot to get me to that point, so there was never any going back for me. I don't recall one instance where I broke up with a guy and then tried to get back together with him. I had a few who tried to do that with me, but if I was the one who called it off, that was it for me.

Breakup candy hearts I am not an impulsive or mercurial person. I do not make major decisions lightly or quickly. Whether or not to stay in a relationship is a major decision, and although there were times when I was pretty miserable, I stuck it out until I couldn't take anymore. But once I do make that decision...yes, Regis, that is my final answer. I am also not one to threaten, or give ultimatums. "If you don't like it, why don't you just leave?" or "Either you do this, or we're through." That seems immature to me, and you just back yourself into a corner with ultimatums. You also might not get the response you want or expect. "Why don't you just leave?!" "Well, now that you mention it...okay, I will." So once I get to that point where I say I want out, you can bet that I've thought about it long and hard, and I'm going to be firm with my decision. (By the way, I'm just reflecting on the past. I'm glad all this stuff is behind me!)

What I've always found irritating is those who just won't let go, and maybe that's why I came to have the attitude of when it's done, it's done. When I say I'm done, I really am, and I am not just being coy or playing hard-to-get. That means don't call me up, don't cry about how much you miss me, don't pull that idiotic (and unhealthy) guilt trip thing and tell me that you don't know how you're going to live without me. Man up, for Pete's sake. I remember one trying to get me back and asking me, "Whatever happened to stand by your man?" I think my sarcastic response was something like, "Gee, I don't know. Whatever happened to not calling your girlfriend a fucking cunt?" I remember one instance of being ditched and devastated, and when I got over it and moved on, I got a letter from the guy asking how I was doing, and saying he hoped to be a better friend to me than he was a boyfriend. Seriously? You refuse all contact with me and then decide you can just stroll back into my life and say you want to be my friend? I don't think so!

Candy heart2 I've had to deal with "other" exes, too. Before Ken and I got married, he got a call asking "Are you sure you want to do this?" Then there was the one who kept calling for him after we got married, and when I said that he was at work, and could I take a message, she'd say no and hang up. He finally had to get on the phone and tell her to stop calling our house. There was a memorable phone call in which I was told, "If I were the person I am now, I think Ken and I would still be together! ::sob::" Really? Who actually says that to a guy's new wife? Boundaries, people, boundaries! That's downright embarrassing. That's a special level of pathetic, right there.

I suppose there are people who have self-esteem issues, and feel that there will never be another relationship like the one that is lost. Maybe it's a control thing, and they feel they have to insert themselves into the game, although their piece has long been removed from the board. I came to have a sort of slash-and-burn policy...once it was over, that was that. If I was the one dumped, I had too much pride to grovel, and resolved to move on and not give the guy any satisfaction. (It didn't happen overnight. I had some craptacular failures that got me to that point.) If I was the one who ended it, I did it for good reasons and only after much deliberation. (Again, that took some time to get right...I made some stupid decisions when I was young and immature, and I've done my best to apologize for that when I had the chance.) As I got older, I came to trust my instincts and judgment, and to realize that I'd made the right decision for the right reasons.

And finally...I made the best decision of all.


  1. Great post, but did something specific get you thinking on this? just curious...

    be well...

  2. Love the X-files title. As you allud to, when you make the decision that it is over - for me there is no going back. When you go through the thought process to make that decision, there is nothing that anyone else can say or do that will have an impact on your more than your own descion making process has. Period.

  3. (chuckling)Still? Been there and done that. My favorite is when it's not exactly the ex but the person they ended up with that are haunted by you. Kind of creeps me out. (Hugs)Indigo

  4. Sometimes, it's really hard for people to let go, thats for sure~
    Maybe, like you for example, once one of the people find the true thing, the other person X will realise you have indeed, moved on.

  5. there are gobs of people out there who are not as absolute as you and never let go, at least in their minds. Great post, as always.

  6. I only have one ex that if I saw somewhere, I'd be like 'let's go.' However, I don't think I'm actually "friends" with any of them. We're just nice to eachother when we see one another and honestly hope the other one is happy. Wait, no there's two I would have that reaction to but not because of things he did to me but things he did to a friend who married him and then divorced his sorry ass. I have to laugh at the last two paragraphs. And I don't have to esplain why Lucy. :)

  7. Great thinking post!! Hey, if you broke up once, no matter WHO did it, there was a reason.... if it don't fit, don't force it!! I agree with your entire post... with the exception of my son's father, we've remained friends, it just makes everything SO much easier.

  8. Great post. I wish I were good at trusting my instincts. Cause I have certainly fallen for some hot messes.

  9. Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone followed this advice. People who can't let go often have the most screwed up relationships in the world, IMO.

  10. I'm with you, Beth.. I don't get this "can we still be friends?" crap... HELL NO we can't still be friends if you broke my heart and if I'm the one breaking up.. HELLO I'm trying to get rid of you!! I have only two exceptions to that rule... one is Paul... we dated as teenagers, of course there was drama. And the other remains a distant friend, we're friendly when we see each other, but distance prevents us from truly being the friends I think we could be (that and his wife... who still doesn't trust me.. or him)

  11. Hmmm ... interesting perspective on the 'Ex-list' thing you have there.

    For me, it had always been 'cut and burn'. Until I got with Mookie, I had never called anyone that I once dated for ANYTHING.

    My natural inclination is to leave folks alone once the final whistle has blown. The reasons why I hadn't are much like the reasons you give for not doing it.

    For one, the fail is still about 'us'. With my ex wife, I think that I brought out some of the worst in her. And Pecan Sandie did the same with me, brought out my worst.

    I didn't want to be bothered with a 'once love' because even if I corrected everything that I did poorly, would they work on the things that THEY had done less than well in our relationship? Many people don't understand that idea, that maybe there is something wrong with them and not just the other person.

    When I had to sit down with my ex wife and explain to her that I may have been a crap husband, but her trying to beat the snot out of me didn't help things either. Whenever I have thought about 'woulda coulda', I always begin there.

    So even if the other party has changed for the better, there is no guarntee that it will be a good mix between you. The improved version may find the other party to be 'less than'. There is still more room for fail than success with an ex ...

    The only reason I am doing it is the same reason 50 year old men skydive ... got to see what it is like!! And I did with Mookie and that has brought me to the SFC, who is the best of all things!!

  12. I'm pretty sure letting go is part of the process of reestablishing your identity and boundaries, when looking for someone else to spend your life(or the night)with. Generally, holding on is never a good thing and is often destructive to one or both of you.

  13. I could talk for hours about this subject . . . but I won't! I'll just say that the very first breakup I had in which I was the "breakup-ee" was when I was dumped by my husband of 35 years -- needless to say, a huge shock, since it happened without any prior warning. He simply found another much younger woman and left. So I had to adjust a lot of attitudes about marriage, life, and how I was going to face the world. My choice, unlike almost everyone who has written here, was to remain friends with him. My basic philosophy of life is that there's enough ugliness in the world, and I don't ever want to add to it in any way. Now, not only are we friends but also business partners. It works out pretty well. I go out with he and his new wife every now and then, and although it's a little uncomfortable sometimes, it's better than all the avoidance, nasty words, etc. that would have occurred if I'd turned my back on him. Most of my friends think I've lost my mind, but hey, it works for me. Also, I believe our grown daughter appreciates the fact that we're still friends.

  14. Excellent post, Beth. I like the clarity and consiceness of your writing. There is no other way to be than definite. Anything else wastes mental energy. This is a brave post, I think. I would only say that I am friends with a few exes but they were not serious lol. And my ex hubby (No. 2) and myself get on very well in order to run our kids' lives together. It is essential for the kids' security and confidence :-) Love the blog! From Karo


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