Chaos Attraction

My Favorite Mistake

2005-03-09, 10:24 p.m.

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I heard from Dave this week.

And you were wondering why I was so cranky on Monday, eh?

He said he was going to be in town to take a real estate exam on the 23rd and could he come by and see me and do a stuff swap.

I was freaking out. Admittedly, I wasn't going to be home after work then anyway that day, but...

Well, you have to understand this: the last time I'd heard from him, he was having more hard-luck stuff going on- had just lost another job, etc., etc., and I just couldn't take hearing any more of that when I wasn't even his girlfriend any more. I realized that I was a lot happier not knowing what was going on in his life, and that I didn't want to hear about how horrible things were. I'd had two years of things getting worse and worse with him, you know? And since he had decided when breaking up with me that it was just too hard to keep trying to shape up his life... I didn't want to be a witness while he sunk.

I seriously thought by now he was probably a sick, homeless bum. And sure, he mentioned a real estate exam, but I sure as hell wasn't going to get my hopes up. I'd had my hopes dashed enough times with him, you know?

Anyway, while discussing what had happened to the other's stuff (in my case: flood, in his case: moving and stuff was lost), some things came across, and somehow we ended up e-mailing back and forth- and things were fairly normal again.

Go figure.

But here's the kicker, folks: he isn't a homeless bum. He moved out of his parents' house. He dumped the loser friends and found better ones. He has a job lined up with some real estate people after he passes the exam.

I'm proud, impressed, flabbergasted... and yet, a bit hurt and shocked too.

This isn't quite an exact analogy, but I feel a bit akin to Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally. For those who never saw the movie, around the start of it she breaks up with her boyfriend of five years because he doesn't want to get married and she does. Later on he calls to tell her he's getting married (to his "transitional person") and she's all, "But why didn't he want to marry me?"

Not that I'm doing that line, exactly, but I am thinking, "But why didn't he want to shape up for me?" Two years of me begging and pleading and cajoling him to want to shape up- for himself and not just because I made him want to be a better man or whatever, so he and we could have a frigging future- and he breaks up with me because he chose that he wanted to keep on being a loser. And instead of ending up a homeless bum, he actually starts working on fixing up his life. What would have given me such hope were we still together, and now... I don't know what to make of it. Did I miss out? Could he only do it without me around? Did he finally get hit by the clue bat after I told him off in May? Was it the whole thing about his dad losing a girlfriend because he couldn't get his financial act together either? (Somehow I knew the first time I heard that story we'd do the same damn thing.)

Either way, the next girlfriend gets to have what I didn't. And yes, this is slightly annoying. (No, I don't know if he has one or not, but I would assume he does. God knows that's how my exes usually operate.) On the one hand, good for her and I'm happy for them. On the other hand... why after all of that "You make me want to be a better man" stuff, did I not actually make him want to be one?

I've told a few people about this (well, girls), and every single one of them said, "Yeah, guys suddenly shape up after they break up with you." Jess said that she'd had the same experience, but that "they'll want to shape up for the right girl."

Clearly, despite all the blarney, I wasn't that.

Kinda sucks that way, doesn't it.

I suppose in the end, we're better off. Neither one of us wanted to move to the other's town in the end, he wanted kids and didn't seem to really get how much I didn't want to be a mother of my very own biological babies, and god knows both issues would probably still have bitten us in the ass even if he was gainfully employed. I'm a horrible person to try to compromise with that way.

This is a more depressing-sounding entry than I was meaning it to be. Because oddly enough, I'm not that depressed over this. Once the initial day of "oh fuck" on Monday was over and we started actually having a conversation...it was fairly normal. I still don't think it's a good idea to go beyond e-mail at this point (and god knows I won't use IM any more ever since he wanted to dump me after our fight on it- I told him why I didn't want to chat today and he said he could understand that), but..it's nice. Very friendly. Sorta like he's someone new, sorta not. Confusing, but pleasant.

Again, go figure.

The odd thing is how strangely relieved and mellow I feel somehow, and I don't know why. I'm not as bitter and pissed off about the relationship circling the drain because of his issues as I used to be somehow. Right now I'm like, "okay, it didn't work out, that's fine," and I don't have to put up the Wall Of Pissed Off Ex Hatred to get myself into that feeling.

Whether I like it or not, I seem to be in some sort of recovery from this, and it's going faster than I'm comfortable with. I'm not used to feeling like this, anyway. Almost...normal.

Whatever that is for me.

Which makes me very nervous. I don't want to deal with people on that level again, dammit.


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