The One That Got Away

I’ve dated the same guy three different times over the course of 7 years. The first time lasted a month and a half, the second time lasted a week or so, and the third time lasted two years. He changed so much for the better over the course of that timeframe, but he also changed for the worse in the worst way.

I got a very first-hand, eye-opening experience to what happens to a person after years of heartbreak, baggage, compromise, co-habitation, rejection, and emotional turmoil. There was a HUGE difference from when we first dated to when he was actually my boyfriend. When I first met him he had a carefree energy and was much less guarded. He was completely go with the flow and excited to try new things and very open to sharing every part of our lives together.

When I met up with him this third go round, he had lost a little bit of his sparkle. He was the same guy I had remembered, just more reserved, cautious, and careful. I chalked it up to maturity, but as we got further and further into an exclusive situation it was clear that he was also untrusting, unemotional, and damaged seemingly beyond repair.

I was CONVINCED that I could get him to snap out of it. I thought that if I was patient and open and loving that he would eventually let his guard down and give himself over to me fully. But in two years time, that never happened. I don’t know that if I had held on longer that it would’ve changed or not but I had lost my will to find out. And my rejecting him because of it is probably only going to make him steel himself further. But in all fairness, his fear of commitment is what got us into this mess. And his fear of commitment got him the result he was fearing—losing me.

I get it. Relationships are scary and the fear that comes with opening yourself up to someone new all over again gets harder and harder every time you have to do it. And as we all get older, the more times we have had to start the cycle over again. But at some point it’s going to have to end unless you want to end up a lonely bachelor for all eternity.

And I say bachelor because I have found that men are overwhelmingly more prone to become damaged with multiple heartbreaks than women are. We have a nice little bounce back quality which most men seem to lack.

And what kills me is that I’ve found that most men drag all of their bullshit into the new relationship and hold it against YOU!

“Oh, my last girlfriend was very ungrateful when I brought her flowers one time so I don’t do that anymore.”

“My last girlfriend’s mom didn’t like me so, NO I’m not ready to meet your parents after a year of dating.”

“I was dragged around the wedding circuit with my last girlfriend so I don’t have it in me to go to your best friend’s wedding, sorry.”

“My first marriage ended badly so I’m never getting married again.”

COOL. Well that works out swell for me, thanks! I’m paying for all the problems that your last girlfriend caused? That seems fair. And on top of that you are a shell of the guy you once were so I have to be tasked with helping you unpack a bunch of emotional baggage before you can even consider moving forward with me? Sign me up!

Obviously we as women want to take the damaged little bird under our wings and help them, but sometimes that only makes it worse. And sometimes they never come out of it. So we could spend precious years wasting time trying to get this poor man that we love just literally back to zero!

It’s such a bummer to have a guy not excited about certain things because he has, “done it so many times before.” What a buzzkill. Why should I get the shit end of the stick just because your last relationship sucked the life out of you? And if it’s going to ruin everything else in your future then you might as well just get back together with the ex and have her fucking deal with you.

With every failed relationship we always learn valuable lessons and what not to do. We gain a lot of wisdom and tools that can help make the next relationship better. And what would make the next one successful is if we could all just focus on the future instead of allow our past to put us into fight or flight mode.

Women seem to be pretty good at it, why aren’t men? Why is it easier for us to give each new person we’re dating a fair shot and a clean slate? The only conclusion I can draw is that even though we may be damaged and fearful, we tend to trust a new person FASTER. Men take too much time and when they finally come around to you after years and tests and assurances it’s usually too late.

I’m really starting to worry for my own future because as I get older, the men I date are only going to be more fucked up. I guess I could date younger, but then I would have to deal with inexperience and the immaturity factor.

I don’t even know anymore. I’m so confused. Maybe we all missed the fucking boat and should’ve married our high school or college sweetheart like our parents did. Get each other before any other person can take a dump inside their heart and ruin them beyond repair.

I’m just tired of seeing girls becoming the “one that got away” to these guys who can’t seem to get over their pasts. Drop the bullshit and get over yourself. To feel great pleasure you also run the risk of feeling great pain. But that’s life and holding yourself and your emotions hostage are sure to make you end up alone.

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Emotional Detachment

I’ve been working a lot lately on detachment and not allowing myself to be ruled by my emotions. I hate letting other people have so much power over me and how I’m feeling at any given time. What other people say and do says so much about them and says practically nothing about me, so why would I let it affect me so deeply?

The other night I was at a bar with a friend whom I’ve had a very complicated relationship with. She assumed I was going to watch her dog while she was away on vacation and when I said I didn’t want to do it (because she wanted me to stay at her place in the deep valley, which is 45 minutes away from my work, friends, and life) she called me a “selfish asshole.”

I’ve never watched her dog in the history of our years long friendship so I had no idea why she assumed I would suddenly be up for the job. Not only that, but to stay 45 minutes out of my way for free was a tall order to ask of anyone. So I had no idea why she reacted that way. It definitely received a, “woah” response out of me, but it ended there. I didn’t let it affect me and I continued on drinking with her for a couple more hours.

I was really proud of myself for having let that comment slide so effortlessly when in the past I would’ve responded much more angrily and I probably would’ve changed my whole attitude for the rest of the night. But I just brushed it off and let it go.

I know my friend wouldn’t want me to say yes to that favor just to ease her stress and yet feel resentful and angry for being made to stay out so far away from my apartment. And I didn’t want to agree to something that would make me feel unhappy just because my friend wanted to save a couple bucks.

So I learned a double lesson in that moment. When you ask someone for a favor, you should never tie any expectations to the response. And when you disappoint someone and they call you a name, remember that it says so much more about them than it does about you.

However, after I had patted myself on the back several times for that interaction I wondered how I could translate that to my romantic relationship. In friendships it’s so much easier to feel less attached to outcomes because you aren’t intimately involved with those people. Detachment tends to become a much bigger challenge when you are opening your heart so fully to someone spiritually, emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically.

I started to wonder if it could be possible to interact with my boyfriend in the same way I had interacted with my friend. Could I have zero expectation when I ask him to do things? If I want to hang out with him and I ask to see if he’s free and he says no, sometimes it sends me into a deep spiral of fear and distress. Partly from past stuff and partly because I allow the fact that he isn’t available to suggest that I’m not a priority because he isn’t ready to drop everything for me like I usually am for him.

And as I type it here now it seems so pathetic and sad. When he is out of town for work and he doesn’t have the opportunity to say no to me I am happy as a lark. So in essence what I’m upset about is the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t do everything that I say and want whenever I say that I want it. My desire to control him and his actions is terrifying and will do nothing but upset me every time.

Sometimes there are larger things that I ask of him, such as coming home with me for Christmas, that when he says no make me think that he doesn’t value our relationship or see a future. I mean, can’t he just sacrifice a couple fucking days simply to make me happy? But see what the problem is here? I’m allowing his actions to either make me happy or not happy. What will happen if I go home to see my family and I’m by myself? I’ll have an absolute blast playing 19 rounds of card games with my brothers and sisters in law. Would I miss and feel his absence? Definitely. But I don’t have to allow his non-presence there affect the entire relationship or suggest that he isn’t invested in me.

And the danger of implying those things is that he will want to get further and further away from me. Because he feels as though he is walking on eggshells and that everything he says and does affects my happiness. That is too much pressure for anyone to handle and the only natural thing to do is to pull away as to not constantly give someone so much disappointment caused by you and only you.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight but it’s one that I’m willing and ready to accept and work on. I alone am responsible for how I feel. I can blame it on him all I want but the only thing I can change is myself. So if I am committed to him and this relationship, which I am, then I need to zen the fuck out and be happy regardless of his actions.

Heartbreak For The Highly Sensitive Person

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I always used to wonder why I would be the only one in my family or friend group covering my eyes in a movie theatre during a super violent war type film or sobbing at the tear jerker ending in something as silly as a romantic comedy film. It was so embarrassing for me one time when I went to see “The Help” with my best friend a couple years ago and I was crying so hard that I was shaking my entire row of seats in a packed house theatre. I almost had to leave and compose myself in the bathroom, but I didn’t want to miss any of the movie. My friend looked over at me several times and laughed a little at my mascara smudged face and offered tissues from her purse. Her eyes were a bit misty, but she was nowhere near the level of my agony.

I had always been thought of as the “tough” girl who never cried and hardly showed emotion when I was younger. I prided myself on not letting little things get to me and never letting anyone see a vulnerable side to my personality. But a lot of people know, and I discovered, that the toughest ones are the ones who are covering up the most. Through acting classes my true feelings had to be unlocked in order to truly emulate other people and experience empathy, and boy did I experience it. And once pandora’s box was opened, there was no going back. I can’t help but feel everything so deeply now. My own feelings and the feelings of others. And through my most recent teacher and mentor, Diana Castle, I discovered that I am a “highly sensitive person”.

The personality trait “the highly sensitive person” (HSP) was made popular by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D in the 90’s. The characteristics, such as crying easily, being sensitive to smells, sounds, and light, and being emotionally reactive, describe me to an absolute T and I finally was able to identify why I have so many issues in my relationships with friends and lovers.

Fights with my friends or boyfriends can turn really nasty and hurtful because I only think from an emotional standpoint and not rationally. If they hurt me I want to hurt them even worse to experience what I’m feeling. When I get angry I get MORE angry than most people and when I am hurt I am MORE hurt than anyone else. So when a relationship ends for me, I absorb a debilitating blow that affects me so much that sometime I think I’m going to die of heartbreak.

I have been trying so hard for months to get over my most recent “lover”, who I felt I needed to cut out of my life because he couldn’t commit to me, to no avail. I have good days, but I also have really bad days where I can barely make it through without crying. And it got me thinking: out of the 3 times that I’ve been in love I have been an absolute mess of the most epic proportions after the breakup. More than most people would be. And I know this because I am a nosy little fuck and also a good listener to my friends who have been through the same thing. They ain’t dealing with what I have to deal with. My friend who’s husband had been cheating on her for 8 years seems to be doing okay after 4 months. If that were me, I would never leave my house and probably take up heroin. My brain and my emotions churns NON-STOP. It’s so awful and distracting. Everyone deals with things differently, but to even be able to go out at night and have a good time like her at this point would be torture for me.

For most people it probably takes a good solid couple weeks or maybe months to get over an ex-lover. For me, it takes sometimes years for me to come to terms. I just FEEL ALL THE FEELS for so long and so intensely. I care and I hurt and I cry more than the average person. It’s really not fair. And it’s no wonder that I’m so afraid of being open and vulnerable. If I do my heart will take a major beating when it inevitably ends. So it’s smart to just avoid it all together, right? Well, no. But I do have to be more careful who I open my heart to. I have to make sure they’re worth it and that they deserve me.

When I’ve had my heart broken I go through so many different stages of emotion. But it usually starts with depressive sadness to the point where I become a shell of a person. I have to read self help books to ease me through the process and to know that I’m not alone. Then it develops into anger and cynicism for life. And then it turns back to sadness and extreme attachment withdrawal. Finally it turns back to anger once more and throwing my body at someone else to help numb the pain. It’s super fun. Not.

The relationship between my most current ex lover and myself is not over, that I know. And it makes me wonder if that’s why I’ve been in so much pain. Because it’s over right now by my own decision when there is still so much passion and love between us.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to move on and experience other opportunities. But it does mean that no other guy is going to be able to have my heart until it’s TRULY done between him and me. Our timing just hasn’t lined up, but if and when it does I hope we can actually have a real relationship and the pain will subside.

It’s quite the hard-knock life for HSP’s like me. If you are not one of these types of people, you lucky bitch. If you are, I’m sorry and I hope that you can relate. The good news for HSP’s is that because we experience everything to it’s greatest potential, imagine what we’re like when we’re happy! We are SO HAPPY!!! And when we love we love SO MUCH. So a relationship with us will be full of affection and attention, however, we may stab you in the eye in the middle of night if you cross us. But it’s worth it. 🙂