Happy After Him

Not everyone has the luxury of their exes going to Singapore and France for a year.

But I do.

It had been many months of silence between Mr. Possibility and I, when last Sunday I received an email at 9 a.m. I wasn’t yet awake when I read it for the first time, and it was only when I dreamt about Mr. P until noon, that I realized it was real, not something my hungover-self imagined.

The email was short and sweet, saying everything I’ve needed to hear since we broke up. It’s true that people can surprise you, and for the first time, maybe ever, Mr. P did just that. Before getting up to greet the day, I probably read those five paragraphs a dozen times — savoring the sincerity and feeling so happy that while it absolutley touched my heart…

… it didn’t break it. Instead of those old, familiar feelings of longing, I felt something else: closure.

It’s an odd word and odd thing to request of someone you used to be with, but it’s something we all wished we could have more of. Some of my friends don’t believe it’s important to make amends, others are convinced no story ever has an official end, that as long as we’re open to something — or rather, someone — then anything can come to be.

I think more along the lines of: tie-a-pretty-bow around everything and make sure everyone is happy with the outcome and has warm, loving feelings and memories from the time we spent together. I’m obviously the least realistic in my views about breakups, hence why most of them don’t stick for the first few months and why I usually end up disappointed — again and again — by someone who I broke up with for… well, continually disappointing me.

Shocking, right?

While I’ve dated other people and forgiven Mr. P — I never felt like he gave me the things, the words I needed to completely move on. It’s not his responsibility, I realize, it’s totally mine– but yet, I hoped one day, he’d come around and see things differently.

And just like that, with his passport ready to go, he did.

I spent a good portion of the day mulling over the email, trying to figure out if I should respond, opening myself up to a possible downward spiral of bad decisions or if I should just take the letter for what it’s worth and cherish it. I didn’t want to get back into a mess I worked so (incredibly!) hard to get myself out of. But on the other hand– I knew I’d regret it if something happened to him on his overseas educational excursion and I never thanked him or told him goodbye.

And so, standing on one foot, baking cupcakes and trying to get my senses about me, I called a number I wish I didn’t have memorized.

He left on Saturday and he won’t be back until next summer. With him goes a piece of my heart, just like pieces are still in North Carolina from past loves. I said a prayer to keep him safe while finds the person he’s been trying to find for nearly 32 years… and then I felt a tremendous weight lift off of me. I felt freedom.

The city is mine again. There are no opportunities to run into him, perhaps with a new girl he’s seeing, at some place we both happen to like. There is no late night drunken temptations to fight when loneliness wins over logic. There is no way to go backwards when the past is so far away, you can’t hop on the subway to see it. There is no need to wonder if it’s the end when the only thing ahead is tomorrow. There is no questioning what could have been or should have been or will be, when I can actually see our lives going in different directions. Him to faraway schools and places, me to the job I love and city that loves me.

Because I’m overly romantic for my own good, I went to Bryant Park — a place that holds so many memories between Mr. P and I. It’s the place we had out first date — which was meant to be a quick
coffee and turned into a six-hour conversation followed by Chinese food. It’s where he took me, six months after that day, when it was absolutely freezing and I only stopped complaining about wanting to go inside when he spun me around, dipped and kissed me and said: “It’s been six months today.” It’s the place we went ice skating and drank hot chocolate together, the place he laid his head in my lap in the grass while we both read our news source of choice and kissed me in between pages. It’s the place I always thought he’d propose, if our relationship ever grew to that, if he could ever open his heart wide enough to let me in.

For a long time, even nearly a year after we have been broken up, Bryant Park was a difficult place for me to go. It reminded me of the love that went wrong, the foolish mistake I made of hanging on for far too long. It reminded me of everything I loved and hated about Mr P, and how I was convinced our memories in this park meant far more to me than they ever did to him.

And those same feelings came rushing back when I set foot yesterday. But instead of being bittersweet, painful memories– they were happy ones. Loving ones. They were memories I shared with a man who made a big impact on my life, who showed me that I really can love unconditionally. They remind me of the smile I used to love to watch, and the intimate moments and conversations we shared in this NYC landmark. They reminded me of the very first love I found in this city, and made me excited about the next. They reminded me that I meant something to someone, something more than he ever let me know until recently. They reminded me that while only one love truly last forever, the ones before still have significance.

They reminded me of the man who is now far away, much like he always was in some way, that while he couldn’t be how he wanted or how I needed, he did love the best he could. He says he doesn’t read this blog anymore — he wanted to give me privacy to sort through my emotions how I do best — but if he happens to stumble across this one, I hope he knows I wish for him the same thing I’ve always wished for him: happiness. Because after a long time, after lots of wondering and pain, he’s finally help me find my happy after him.

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13 thoughts on “Happy After Him

  1. awesome, i too, silently, wish my ex all the happiness she can find in the world, because if she’s staying happy, i am too =)

  2. Congratulations, Linds. being done is important.

    You need to be always valued by a guy, take pre-eminence ahead of other things and people in his life. Not always, but enough of the time, that the rest of his world knows that you are #1 for him. I’ve been in relationships where I made the person #1. But htey relished being able to display their disdain and show me where I stood somewhere else down the line for them. At least it sure felt that way.

    Be yourself, be wonderful, expect someone to one day think the world of you, and want you as a permanent part of theirs. The best part, for all to know you are the best part of their world.

  3. Reblogged this on Life between the lines and commented:
    What I love about L’s blog is how oftentimes, she’s going through something that I’ve gone through before or exactly at the same time that I am, as if we are living in this parallel Universe. We were born on the exact same day more than a decade apart, yet each time I read her, I see a me, well probably not as eloquent and as great a writer as she is but our beliefs, compartment seem to be the same.
    It is the same again today with this blog, please visit her page to read more. Closure is so important to me as well. I can’t for the life of me understand how some can go on without it, I have had to learn to walk away without that sense of closure. I have learned to develop “acceptance” so that I may find peace, otherwise I’ll continue to be angry, hurt, bitter about my past. It is the same how I can’t comprehend having been with men whom at first I thought to be the nicest, sweetest men who turned into some of the meanest, sadistic human beings I have ever had in my life, with no sense of consideration just re-acting to their pain. I then had to find within myself the strength to forgive them, because once you can see through someone’s pain, you can let go. Yes, they were mean, ungrateful, abusive, treating me poorly, putting me down but they did so after the fact because of they were hurting.
    One did so even when I had done nothing to him, and I would love to know why he tore my heart apart, why he used me. I’ll never have the answer to that. I know it’s not because of who I am or anything I’ve done but it would be nice to have that closure, it would be so great to see him face the abuse, the pain, the hurt he caused me just because I cared for him.
    Zsa Zsha Gabor said it and I have found it to be true, you only know the caliber of a person’s character only after you’ve broken up. Basically, when someone is in pain, when you have hurt them or they feel you have, the way they treat you, the things they say to you are indeed the reflection of their core, their true selves. So, when I hear women marrying or dating men that they are gushing over, saying how nice and wonderful they are, I often and still wish that I would hear that from their exes (unless these men admitted what they’ve done to this new woman, accepted the darkness within and consciously working to remove it, they are the same beasts and one day that beast would come out and eat the new lady). This holds true for females as well. Some women become the devil incarnate. May it never be me, it hasn’t yet and for that I’m so grateful for the woman that I have grown to be.

    Stay well you all and happy Monday, wherever you are!

  4. I want to get to this place being completely happy after her and wish her happiness on her current relationship, but I can’t I’m not there yet, but I hope to be soon enough to set the pain aside. Its like we’ve been over it so many times going our separate ways then something happens in each of our lives and she’s there. Most times I’ve felt like the other woman. But I want my closure my freedom.
    Your entry had really helped me into what I need to do.

  5. Hello,
    Little bit scared about asking for help like this. But here we go. I work with this women I cant get out of my mind at all. I have know this women for the past 5 months and she is amazing in every aspect. I met her during a meeting one day at work and right from the get go I could not get over how beautiful she was and it was weird how shay feeling i get and cant make eye contact with her. I told one of my friends that I was interested in getting to know her, so this friend set up a get together(BBQ and some wine and yard games)

    Everything seemed to go well and I was getting a great vibe from the meeting outside of work. At the ended of the night, I walked her to her car and and told her that it was great to get to know her and I hoped we could get together again. I went to give her my number so she could call me, She told me she already had my number from our common friend. Over the next 24 hours I felt like a girl( no offense) I waited for a text message or a phone call from her, I finally gave in and sent her a face book request to see if I made a move if it would spark something. Well within 7 minutes of me sending the request she accepted the request, I was flying on cloud 9. I quickly called my friend from work and told her about it, that’s when I heard the same thing I have heard my entire life….Your in the Friend zone…….

    I took the stance that since I really enjoyed spending time with her and really did like her a lot that the friend zone would have to do. Over the next two months we exchanged a lot of nice texts with each other and I tried to make her start the conversation to make it i am not hounding her and trying to stay in what she wanted (the friend zone). After a while I tried to see if she would like to hang out, I asked her if she would go with me to a concert. She expressed to me that it was not her type of music but since it is a outdoor concert she would go. She told me that she did not want me to pay for her ticket and that she would pay for hers. At the concert we had fun and talked a lot in between songs, but you could tell it was just her trying to make the small talk. She did laugh at me a few times i saw from singing the songs and dancing around. At the end of the night, I drove her back home and we sat in front of her house for about a hour and just talked about family and work a little bit my thoughts on some of hot topics in the news. She had opened up so much and I truly felt this is what I have been looking for. At one point I saw a opening to go in for a a good night kiss, I chickened out of doing it just in case I read the signs all wrong.

    Almost the same incident happen again the next month and but this time it happen at my house. she came by to pick up some stuff that i had from work at my house that I worked on . While at my house I again struggled to make eye contact with her. We talked more family and how she is doing with work and being away from family. When she left the opening was there for me again, again I chickened out cause well to be honest I have been out to the game for so long I don’t know what to do. I do think she was sort wanting me to but I could not be certain.

    Am I wasting my time, I do have low self esteem about my self and struggle to feel like I am good enough or able to find that one special person for myself. All of my friends have settled down(some have worked, and some have not) but where does that leave me? 30 years old and still out on the single scene. Scared to try the online dating, Not being able to read the signals that our out there. Have I missed my chance? Sorry for this long message but I just had to get some information.

    Max
    about family and how growing up in situationd weohous

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