A year ago (almost exactly a year ago – Jan 24th, it was a tuesday, look it up) I was dumped. I don’t even know what to call it actually – it was the unceremonious ending of a stupid thing that should never have happened, and lasted so brief that we could say the
fetus zygote of a relationship was aborted.
The connection had been, from my perspective, fantastic. We had just decided to be exclusive. And then within a few days of that conversation, he changed his mind and said he wanted friendship instead. I sat there reeling in the cafe, trying to figure out why I felt like I’d been hit by a semi truck.
His explanation made sense: his family was seeking something different and you know, how would this ever work long term and it’s better to end it sooner before feelings develop too intensely so that we could still be friends. I nodded numbly, and he saw my face and he helplessly commented: “It’s already too late.”
I have never felt stupider about any relationship I’ve ever tried to embark on. I’ve never felt more ashamed, or like I’d been taken for a ride. I’ve never felt more like a dumbass. And I’ve also never felt more enraged. In the past, when stupid shit like this happens, I often ask myself where I went wrong, and landed on some superficial shit like “oh you reached out too much” or “oh you didn’t reach out enough” or “oh you know you weren’t perfect in xyz ways”. Rarely have I felt a pure kind of anger at the situation, at myself, at him. Rarely have I felt a vicious feeling like: “yes. good. This was fucking just desserts for a BULLSHIT thing I tried to do, and this is very much the universe laughing at me.”
“Everything we did was unnecessary and stupid” I would tell him, a month after the breakup. “I regret it.”
And I do. I regret meeting this person, investing my time and my feelings in him. I regret every moment that “felt good” because of how ultimately vapid and stupid our connection was.
Lesson 1: The consequence of not seeing someone clearly is immense pain because you set up an expectation of who they are in your own stupid little head and are constantly confused about why they do not meet those expectations.
And that finally sunk in for me this year. This idiot dumped me in a week, and said he`d be friends. I was *at least* not stupid enough to say “yeah of course, I believe you, dear almost-boyfriend who dumped me in a week and with whom I’ve had crazy good makeout sessions with, that you will suddenly be a ‘good friend’.” But I WAS stupid enough to say “you know, sure, yeah we’ll see – I don’t trust you yet, but you need to show me that you actually care about our friendship by reaching out… making an effort, trying, or else I’ll definitely think this was bullshit too.”
And it was a long, drawn out, painful set of months of bullshit. This was someone who very sincerely wanted friendship in the moment (I could feel that – they weren’t empty words and I quizzed him hard on it), and then showed me precisely how incapable he was of actually being a friend. “Let’s be friends!” was so much steaming bull feces over the next few months. Did he reach out? not really. Did he show he gave a damn? nope! And yeah maybe this “breakup” (lol) was really hard on him or some type of shit. Maybe he “didn’t know what he really wanted”.
But you know what: he hadn’t changed at all from when we were “dating”. Was he decent at getting in touch,communicating his feelings, recognizing his own vulnerabilities and weaknesses while we were dating? No. So why did I even offer room to see “growth” after I’d been dumped? Because, I had not internalized Lesson 1 and also because I had not learned that
Lesson 2: You don’t owe anyone that breaks your trust, your trust. Stop doing that. Have strict motherfucking boundaries for who you want to open up to and say “fuck off” to the rest.
If someone takes your trust and pisses on it, maybe don’t give them more of it to shit all over and then sob about it later. “But!” you wail, “I’m just so sad and I miss them so much!” No. This person did not exist. You made them up entirely. Even those great moments were probably a pass time for them where they could have been doing anything else. And, even if the moments were genuinely good, here’s the kicker: they may still be really bad for you due to showing ambivalence, lack of care, lack of support, lack of fucking decency for your needs. And this doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means:
Lesson 3: Your needs, standards for care, love, friendship, support, communication matter. They don’t matter in a general sense because everything on the timeline of the universe is fucking insignificant, but they matter in terms of your stupid tiny life which, might I remind you, is ALL you have on this stupid little miserable planet. That’s it. Your life. And if someone cannot meet these standards – whatever they are, however you organize them, they need to fucking be garbage chuted out of your life. You can love them and they need to get gone. You can want the best for them, and you can do that from afar. Your life has to matter more than EVERYTHING else you come across. Everything else is arbitrary as fuck – even life for many people is arbitrary so if you have the luxury of whining about relationships, know that you have the luxury of a life where your basic needs are met and you can fucking wallow for a year like me, your friendly neighbourhood dumbass.
But, you blubber THROUGH A RIVER OF TEARS “how?! How can I possibly – I mean I just – we had such a good connection – and, I don’t know if I want them gone”
This person is a source of intense emotional strife in your life. They have done nothing to ease it. They have not shown even a minimum standard of care. They have literally done nothing.
“I’m really good at making you cry”, is what he said to me painfully on our last night, so year ago.
“Yes. You are really fucking good at making me cry and I really didn’t deserve this” is what I should have said. And it is what I will say in future. You have to know at all times what your TERMS are. You HAVE to know what your terms of engagement – sexually, romantically, friendship-wise – are. You HAVE to know that these terms of engagement depend ENTIRELY on what IS GOOD FOR YOU.
And only you get to decide that.
Lesson 4: Your standards for your relationships reflect what you are willing to let in and *exactly what you keep out*, and this little gated community of your heart is entirely reliant on what is good for you.
Except when it’s not. Ha ha! Because if you’re an emotionally traumatized person like me you will probably settle for way less than what you deserve, and you probably have no idea about what’s good for you.
But you have to learn. You have to learn what is actually good for you and people who, through no fault of their own, make you cry because your needs are so different or because trust has been shattered, or because of any other fucking reason – these are people who are not good for you.
And it’s no one’s fault. Sometimes. Sometimes it is no one’s fault at all. Sometimes, you’re left with some deep knowledge that a connection should never ever have been fostered, should never ever have been approached.
And relationships like these are just another stupid bitter lesson, bitter fruit, bitter pill, so take it swallow it, and don’t repeat the same mistake. Especially – ESPECIALLY – if you find yourself crying tears you didn’t think were possible months after the fact, and you hear yourself saying “I never want to meet someone like you again” or “I wish we had never ever met” – then you owe it to yourself to NEVER let in someone like that again.
And to cut that person off for good. Lock them off. Forever.
Anyone who makes you feel like shit about yourself isn’t worth any space in your life unless and until they make amends, or you feel less powerless about the situation and feel open to reconnecting because you may be able to offer each other something way in the future.
And the next time someone does not meet your standards for how you want to be treated, address it or lock them off immediately. Engaging in adult relationships means bringing authenticity to the table. Bringing vulnerability to the table means you:
Lesson 5: Say exactly what you mean and mean exactly what you say. And if you cannot do that, you have no business being in a relationship. If you feel “compelled to say yes because you can’t say no” – that’s not a relationship. That’s you prioritising someone else’s presence in your life more than you are prioritising what is MOTHERFUCKING GOOD FOR YOU. If you feel you can only say no because you are afraid of having feelings for someone, take your bullshit self to a bachelor pad and rot there by yourself because you have no business implicating someone else’s feelings and journey by giving them mixed messages.
Hah which brings me to my next point:
Lesson 6: There’s no such thing as mixed messages. If you’re confused, it’s a no. It is a “no this person does not care about you”. It is a “no, they are hoping you take a hint because yeah they don’t know how to tell you to fuck off”. It is a “no, they don’t really know what they want, but hope that you’ll be drying out like raw fish on their hook FOR ALL ETERNITY” while they figure their shit out, continue fishing, etc.
It is ALWAYS a no if you are confused because people will ALWAYS show you where you fall based in terms of their priorities. You will know because of their actions. And yeah you could argue “life circumstances… their own journey.. they may – ”
When you care about someone, think about how you behave with them. Do you give a headsup, communication wise? Do you show that you are still thinking of them even if circumstances are hard or difficult? Are you setting standards for other people in your life that are WAY BELOW the standards you set for yourself?
“But!” you say “But shouldn’t we just love people for who they are – and they’re doing their best and – ”
Lesson 7: Love people for who they are and, if in loving them, you feel like your insides are being sliced up because it’s SO PAINFUL that they DO NOTHING for you, or very little, or NOT ENOUGH, THEN LEAVE. Because love shouldn’t have to hurt. Because they deserve better than your shitty “I’m in pain loving you” love. and you deserve better than your “I’m in pain loving you” love. Accept that you are trash for each other’s well being in terms of any material actions, reasonable understanding of mutual care/connection, and that whatever you had was either not real, or not meant to last – take your pick, but whatever that “connection” is, it’s rotting so just burn it cleanly away already.
In closing, here is what i said to my “ex-nothing” in the cafe
“you killed something in me, between us.”
and here is his brilliant response:
“thanks for making me feel like I’ve ruined it for the other guys”
“the conversations were the best part – you’re so easy to talk to”
But actually, in retrospect, a year later, that was the motherfucking problem: I was, apparently, so easy to talk to that I let into my life people like him.
And you know what he’s not even that bad of a guy.
But the point is exactly that: he doesn’t have to be a monster, a rapist, a murderer, a horrifying waste of space, to still fall WAYYYYY short of my standards of good treatment.
And he fell short. He fell short multiple times. And I’m sure I fell short for him too.
So that’s good, now we know exactly what not to allow in our lives.
He’s not garbage and neither am I, but we were – are – trash to each other.
And hey, if you’re reading this – yeah you: Get a new fucking hobby.