In my last relationship, my ex and I were best friends. We told each other our thoughts every waking hour. If I was in the bathroom, she was in the bathroom. If she was cooking, I was beside her dutifully cutting vegetables. If I was tidying up the house, she was literally sweeping and scrubbing the floors behind me. And at every event, I was stood beside her regardless of how tired I was and how much I didn’t want to be there. We were like a brain. I was right right hemisphere, and she was the left.
When we broke up, I immediately threw myself into creating a new life. I began securing a apartment, furnishing it and getting my affairs in order. These things were easy to do as they did not involve her. For once, I would make decisions without consulting anyone (though I’m certain she would have liked the new space I created…we both saw eye to eye on using color boldly). I would make purchases without consulting anyone, and I would decide what friends did or didn’t come into my house and at what hour.
When it came to matters of separation, we were very civil with one another. She was extremely sorry for having hurt me, and I was very much still in love with her and couldn’t imagine being angry or lashing out in any way…which in essence meant that she was asking for very little and I was offering a whole lot more. I told her to take the bed, the couches, the dresser and my favorite thing of all, the vintage dining table. We had two flat screens at the time. I actually took the larger of the two, then got rid of it.
She had what she considered to be a small request. She asked for some of the wedding china my mother had given us as a gift. This china was from my mother’s failed marriage by the way, and she had given it to us as a gift because:
- We were engaged to be married.
- She thought I may appreciate the sentimentality of it.
- She no longer wanted the memory of the marriage.
Nice symbolism, right? I refused to give her any of it. I just couldn’t give someone whom “almost” married me, wedding china. And this was the first time I remember ever really telling her no (which became quite addictive and should be further discussed in another post) to something she wanted, especially when part of me hoped that the request meant something more. I remember hoping that maybe it meant that she loved me, but deep down I knew it wasn’t the case.
For her, I imagined, it was a way to say “I love you” without being held accountable for it, a way to leave a door open in the event things didn’t work out and she ended up utterly alone. And maybe it was just some weird attempt to memorialize the time we had spent together.
However, for me, it would have just been another concession. So, while I appreciated the attempt in its complexity, it didn’t seem fair to either of us. It wasn’t fair for me to give it, and it wasn’t fair for her to carry the burden or attachment to what we once had, which is what that china would have represented whether she chose to see it or not.
A couple months passed, and we were taking our final steps to situate ourselves separate from one another. I settled into my new place, and she had settled into hers. Suddenly, things finally sank in. The left half of my brain was officially gone. I was a crazy right brained fool with nothing left to create and was experiencing a meltdown of epic proportion. I stopped eating, stopped talking to friends, and decided to take a week off of work to recuperate. Several weeks later, I was still pathetic, but I at least I was managing.
I had no idea how to act now that my best friend was gone. It was like I was going through withdrawal, and this was complicated by the fact that she still wanted to be friends and would call and ask to come over. And of course, our shared friends still wanted to hang out with us simultaneously. It was a very confusing and difficult time. This was the point at which I decided I needed new friends, friends I didn’t have to share…friends that didn’t keep talking about her.
And this is when I opened myself up to a very strange encounter on OKCupid…
~To be continued~