It’s over. Actually, it’s been over. Really, it’s been over for over four years now. So why do I sometimes still think about her?
I’ve moved on, started a new family, I have a new baby on the way, and I’m moving into a new house with my new family and my new baby which I can now afford because of my new job. Everything in my life is new but I just can’t seem to shake off some of those old memories.
Why does this happen?
I’ve had this conversation many times before with a few of my male acquaintances and they all basically have been through the same situation. People (women in particular) believe that a man’s decision making process must function at some futuristic super computer level of unparalleled proportion because we are often times so assertive and direct. In reality (most men) make quick decisions based on some level of logical processing but mostly on the fact that there is a decision to be made. Unfortunately, this also involves decisions with an emotional component. Men don’t sit around eating ice cream with his friends while watching Grey’s Anatomy and talk about how mad he is at Sarah for not paying attention to his needs. NOT AT ALL! We’d rather just get over it and catch the game. We’d rather just bury it deep within our psyche on some desert island in the vast empty sea of our mind, hoping that no one ever digs up these painful repressed trinkets of our not often displayed “softer side.” But sometimes that doesn’t work.
So my previous relationship went on for about three years collectively. We broke up twice and actually started the whole thing out as just an “arrangement” and not a relationship in the first place. There was definite sexual chemistry beyond my wildest dreams and an intellectual connection that stimulated every cell in my mental processing unit. Everything was great except for the fact that this girl had “commitment issues.” Some days we would lay around and talk about the fairy tale of marriage, children, love, and happiness as though it was a yet to be written novel of our life. Then when I would talk seriously on the subject, the dark clouds would form overhead and that sweet fantasy would dissolve into a pool of excuse after excuse until it became a monsoon of arguments, cheating and ultimate betrayal. The (almost) perfect relationship ended before it ever was.
So, for a man, what do you do next? You regroup. You hook up. You move on. Most men experience love in a series of endless rebounds. We do love sports right? So the goal of our relationships are the same. Do whatever you can to score and if you miss then try again, pass the ball or shoot for another target. That simple. Sometimes you hit a lay-up. Sometimes you can get a three pointer. It all depends on your stamina.
It was hard to let this girl go. I tried my hardest to rebuild what I thought we had, but she fought hard to get as far away from me as she could. I wanted a wife, a family, and a mother for my daughter. She wanted to become a fashion designer and live in a cozy loft somewhere in the ritzy facade of New York City. I wanted for her what she wanted for herself but she wanted it all without me. I had broken the ultimate “man law” and I had become emotionally invested in a woman who didn’t love me back. I was blinded by sex, passion, and promises. I had somehow become a high school girl sadly stood up for prom. I cried.
It took a full month to actually process that it was really over. I had, of course, fallen back into the rebound cycle and called up a list of women that I knew could provide for me that temporary intimate encounter. Sex is almost always the solution for heartbreak for a lot of men and that is the trap I had fallen into. I was once again on the market but at the same time it’s not at all what I wanted.
I was twenty-five. My daughter was six-years-old. Time seemed not to care for the urgency of my situation. I wanted a wife, a family, and a mother for my daughter but all I got was three years dinners and a movies. I felt like I was so close. I could smell it. I could taste it. It was mine. But it wasn’t. What did I do wrong?
I asked her. Flat out? What happened to us? Excuse after excuse poured from her lying mouth. I had my own assumptions but what she said was everything but. Maybe it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Maybe she was being as honest as a dishonest cheater could be. I would never really know. I did find out through extensive questioning that it really was over. But I wasn’t done. My heart refused to let go.
I found a new girlfriend about six months later and tried my best to make a smooth transition into a new more comfortable situation. It wasn’t as clean as I would have liked because the thought of “her” wouldn’t go away. It was persistently interrupting my happiness. My relationship was a labyrinth of unfair comparisons. My new girl would never be my old girl and the truth is that I didn’t want her to be. I was happy with my new, more nurturing, mother-like stable relationship. She was nice, she was beautiful, but best of all she was honest. She was everything I said I wanted but was just not patient enough to look for.
Of course there was a trade off. We didn’t have off the wall, under the table, and on the kitchen counter, while knocking the walls down, five hour love making sessions like my previous relationships, nor did we always mentally connect. But she was stable, innocent and at least willing to try.
So why was my mind stuck on this unfulfilled image of past infidelity? Why couldn’t I get over imagining what it would be like if we worked things out? Why do I get jealous when she tells me about her new boyfriend or how happy she is now, even though I’m not there nor the direct cause of her happiness? What is this all about?
I’m truly happy where I am now. I honestly can say to my new girlfriend that I can’t live without her. I’m at s new plateau and the skies are clear. Maybe I’m haunted by the what ifs. The idea that somehow the past is unresolved because I didn’t do my job. Where is Doc and the Delorean when you really need them. Maybe the drug rush of endorphins and sweat were my addiction and I’m just now facing withdrawal. Life goes on and memories fade.
I don’t think of her as much now. It has been four years though. I still get a slight twinge in my heart whenever I hear her voice, but not the out of control fluttering that it once was. I finally gave up the last of her possessions that I had been holding on to just to keep a piece of her. I told her how hard it was to do that. I let her know that if she accepted I was really giving her up. It was symbolic and real all at the same time. It was hard.
Love is a terrible beast to slay. He breathes fire and has a spine of sharp scales and teeth. I have buried my memories just beyond his lair. He guards it with snake-like agility and venom. It’s safely hidden away from the rest of the world. I guess this entry is the map back to that place for which I may never go alone. Out there in the middle of life’s ocean. On a desert island where X marks the spot.
There are no true solutions. There is never a strait answer. It’s all about patience. Men have feelings too. You may never know it if you don’t care to ask. I’m over her now but the dangerous question is … is she?