Monday, 7 August 2006

Breaking up

We broke up over the weekend.

The evening before we'd been to a very nice wedding, which as every girl knows is quite a powerful emotional catalyst.

At least the psychological conflict is befitting
So when I woke, during the routine snuggle we like to enjoy, his morning wood nestled cosily on my bum, I asked J where our 18-month old relationship is going.

It was one of those innocent queries that set off an avalanche. But I guess that, like someone shouting in the mountains after a heavy snowfall followed by a thaw, I should have known better.

"I don't know," he said. "I need to feel better. About myself, about this relationship."

I thought about it for a little while. Part of me was extremely sick and tired of waiting, of not knowing where we are headed, or if indeed there is a 'we' headed anywhere.

"If you want me to leave, you should say so," I said.

He just looked at me.

"Is that what you want?" I pressed.

And he said yes.

And then he started crying. I have never heard anyone cry like that, it was like all barriers burst and all the pain I know he feels every day but rarely tells me about, came out. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't hear me. He just kept repeating "baby" and other things I couldn't quite make out.

At first I was calm. I held him, passed him (a lot of!) tissues, told him everything would be OK.

In my head I made contingency plans; who would I stay with, how would I tell my mum.

I put on some clothes, somehow being naked felt frightening all of a sudden.

Then I left the room and promptly collapsed in the spare bedroom.

I would say that my heart broke, but actually I think that being with J chips away at it; it is already cracked and every day another small piece falls off.

Still, it was painful, frightening, like having 20/20 vision on your life and suddenly being reduced to being pathologically myopic.

I have always said that I would go if he wanted me to, if he thought there was no other way.

But when he came after me into the bedroom, I just threw myself in his arms, just saying "no", over and over again, begging him to not let go, begging him not to leave me. He was crying as he held me.

"If it hurts you so much, why are you doing it," I asked. He didn't answer.

"I just don't see how I will ever feel comfortable being in this relationship," he said. Which is his euphemism for saying he doesn't think he loves me.

"Even if we keep going, I just think we'll end up back at this point again some time in the future," he said.

I felt sick. The alcohol from the wedding felt like it wanted to exit, one way or another.

"Please change your mind while I go to the bathroom," I said.

And wonder over all wonders, he did.

When I got back, he just said "I want to keep trying."

I still don't know why he changed his mind, and I don't know if I have the strength to hear it.

"If you had just walked away, I probably would have just left it," he said later.

"But I am surprised at how painful that was."

"I felt relief, but it was painful."

I guess part of him doesn't want to live without me after all.

And of course I felt relief too. When you go around fearing the worst all the time, it's sometimes a huge weight off your shoulders when it actually happens, so you don't have to obsess about it anymore.

And of course it's nice to be single. I've always loved to be single.

But I also know that I will not leave this. I will hang on till the very end, even if it is a bitter one. The part of me that wants to stay is so much bigger than the part of me that just wants the insecurity and anxiety to end.

And of course we had incredibly hot make-up sex. It is like a part of J feels the need to check that I'm still there by vigorous prodding methods whenever sticky points happen in our relationship.

Last Thursday we went to see the Bolshoi's Swan Lake.

J was convinced that the swan lives, but it turned out this was simply a Soviet-era tack-on (communists disapproved of unhappy endings) to the original finale where she simply just dies. He was gutted.

But that just goes to show that he can be wrong about the happy ending, sometimes... Let's hope it works the other way around, too.

About a year and a half ago, I made fun of my best friend S, who broke up with his girlfriend for about six hours before he took her back (she was crying and begging and he realised he still wanted to give it a go). He doesn't love her, I know it. But they are still together.

J and I managed a whole seven minutes apart.

I will never laugh at S again.

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  1. Your experience bares striking similarities to many of mine (on the other side), and those of some of my friends. It is rarely a simple matter of love, or even compatability. In truth it's just downright confusing and frustrating. I also think that men often have a very difficult time in understanding what their feelings are and how to act on them. It can feel as though either way of doing things is wrong. These things probably take courage and intuition. I hate that, because those qualities are very lacking generally.

  2. Most things worth having are hard work. Good luck, truly.

  3. My wife and I have been married for six years and we still have a fight about once a year in which one of us suggests splitting. You can't have the good without the bad.

  4. Wow, I was frightened there for a moment. Super glad to hear that you two are still together. Andrew and I had a spat last night of sorts and I thought we almost split, but in the end I think it turned up some good stuff because I finally got up the nerve to explain my depression to him and the other 'imbalances' I have. We're working on stuff more now, you know I think in some ways I'm his "J" and he's my "J's girlfriend." I think I can relate to some of the stuff that goes on with J sweetheart, I'm just happy I've found a bloke that'll put up with all my madness. I think J might feel that way about you too.

  5. wow you described it all so clear headedly. I felt like I was there going through those same emotions probably since i have in the past. Although I never have the guts to ask "where is this going."

    At least the mini-break up awakened some feelings in J too.

    best of luck,


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