Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking up

There comes a time in every break up, when you suddenly stop hearing the onslaught of excuses, the world goes still and you find yourself thinking: fuck, I am going to end up a strange old spinster with cats, living above my best friend’s garage and being invited for pity-dinners by all my happily married friends. The eccentric - and by then safely asexual - token gay at the table, that all their future kids think is hysterically funny and confide in about their teenage crushes. It is usually at that point that I start to cry.

That is, of course, if you are the breakupee, and not the breakupper. I realised the other day that I only really ever think of the breakups in which I was the breakupee. They form my whole frame of reference. In fact, I only consider the relationships in which I was broken up with proper relationships (the kind that get a whole finger when you’re counting). Which makes sense, I suppose. Because much as any decent person will claim they hate to be the bad guy, and they hate to hurt other people, it is much, much worse for the person who wasn’t expecting it and didn’t want it to happen: he or she was the partner who was more involved and more invested. The relationship meant more to them. And the breakupper, no matter how lovely, feels a sense of relief.

But there was an interesting twist in Friday night’s scene. Out of nowhere, it forgot to shatter my self-worth. I felt the usual shock and despair, obviously, and disbelief. And that nauseating feeling that I was about to lose someone who meant so much to me and defined so much of my life and experience in the past few months. The loneliness that pounces before the door has even closed behind him and the frustration that all the shared moments and imagined futures were for nothing. But not once did I think I had screwed up, or, as per previous self-flagellations, that I deserved it and it was obviously going to pan out that way.

Have I reached the end of teenage angst? At 26, have I finally grown up and learnt the Oprah (or was it Buddha?) lesson of valuing oneself and not taking things personally? It was a much healthier relationship than I have been in for years. Easy-going, natural, respectful and equal. Perhaps healthy relationships translate into less damaging breakups. Which is counter-intuitive, as there is more being lost. Or perhaps the man in question, a gentleman to the end, just put more effort into softening the blow, so the bruising will take longer to show. Whichever it turns out to be, I am going to hold on to the fact that my flat is too small a place to start collecting cats.


  1. ARG! I just wrote you a whole insightful and brillliant post and the site crashed...ANNOYING!! Anyhoo, in summary... I think it's WAAAY too early to be collecting cats my sweet friend. You have at least 10 years to go before that is acceptable and what I think you really have to consider about this is that, despite the last 12 months having been the most incredibly confusing and emotional roller coaster ever, you did it all by yourself! You have been strong, yet vulnerable, open yet reserved and all in the right amounts! I'm so proud of you because I think the main reason that your relationship was so much healthier this time round was because you had reached a place of realising your actual self worth. Being a grown up is all about finally looking at yourself for who you really are in as 'uncritical' a way as possible. We're all to old to believe that someone else makes you whole and you had got to a place prior to this relationship in which you felt whole. Try and cling to that because it is an amazing achievement. I'm proud of you and I love you and, again..i think you're FABULOUS!

  2. You're so fucking gracious. I'll hit him for you.

    More importantly, Stacey speaks sense.

    I remember my first relationship taught me how much of me someone owned when they fucked off out of the blue. Being the breakupee sucks a hell of a lot more. I would far rather be the one to do the deed than suffer it.

    It does get you to a point, though, where you realise your self-worth shouldn't be determined by any one thing. Some people have their self-worth tied up in their looks. Some in how much money they have. And some in their boyfriend/girlfriend. And looks, money and a boyfriend can disappear overnight. If all your self-worth is tied up in one of those things then you've never got anything to fall back on.

    I'm an incredibly insecure person, and even I can see the logic in that.