Three years ago I was coaching a good friend of mine, Lindsey* through one of the toughest breakups of her life. I was there as she cried, cursed, screamed and behaved childishly and never once did I judge her. I stayed on the phone with her for hours listening to her repeat the same story over and over again and always coming to the same conclusion: she had to let him go.
She would list all the reasons he was wrong for her but somehow she managed to find one small insignificant reason to stay. Actually “stay” might be the wrong word considering he wasn’t exactly available. He had so obviously moved on but Lindsey hadn’t.
“I’m standing outside his door,” she called me one day to say.
“What?” I propped myself up onto my elbow to get a better listen.
“He’s on the phone. I called him and asked if I could come over but he said he wasn’t home. That fucking asshole is standing right there.”
“Why are you there?” I asked gently.
She paused. To me that moment of hesitation seemed to imply that the reason for her being there was so obvious, how could I be so dense?
“I wanted to see him.” She spoke softly.
“Why?” I provoked.
“Look I’m across the street. He messaged me last night saying how he misses me!”
I listened as Lindsey explained how over the last two weeks Albert had been sending her mixed signals despite her trying her best to move on. Eventually Lindsey did move on and she got a boyfriend who turned out to be a whole new kind of headache. Still I was her friend through that period too.
During that time I was in a really good place. I was attending classes and getting good grades. I was actively involved in activities in my church and had good relationships with all my friends. But most importantly of all I had a boyfriend. A strong, loving, non-confusing boyfriend who gave me what any girl wants out of a relationship: respect, loyalty and support.
It was the beginning of my relationship with Rick* and I felt as if I truly knew it all. We were friends before we started dating (although because we were best friends we hung out alone all the time which is a lot like dating if you think about it) Rick waited three years before he told me about his feelings for me.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Our church was heading to see a play out of state, before the show began Rick texted me to ask me if I still meant it when I said I would rather date a friend that some random guy next time I got into a relationship. I was so confused by this it took me hours to reply back. I remember being very vague and saying something like “sure” or “okay”.
I guess he was testing the waters to see if I was interested in him or not. And at the time I wasn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be in a relationship but simply that I couldn’t imagine myself with Rick. He was my best friend and I had always thought he was too goofy to be romantic but something told me to give him a chance. So after two tries of transitioning from friends to lovers, Rick and I finally began going steady.
It was marvelous in ways I never imagined possible. He was attentive and tender like any boyfriend should be but somehow still managed to be my best friend and make me laugh. I remember thinking “this is how every relationship should be”. I felt a sense of pride in my decision to wait and date my best friend so I began doling out advice based on my new found wisdom.
I love women. I truly believe we are an amazing sex. We are miraculously beautiful, emotionally enamoring and physically jolting in the best ways possible. And because of this female friendships have always been important to me for as long as I could remember. I valued my girlfriends above all others, even if at times I seemed ungrateful and downright catty. I took the Sex and the City vows of girlfriends as soul mates as opposed to men, to heart.
So when a girlfriend of mine was hurting I was always there to be a shoulder to cry on while coaching her to wellness and joy. I’ve always felt like that’s something I was meant to do.
Because of my successful relationship I found my friends were more willing to hear me out if I told them to “stop texting him, he’s a total asshole”. I was blunt in my approach to love because I was grounded in the belief that if you waited and maintained your standards the right guy would find you. All of this I still believe to be true but now fast forward three years later: I’ve broken up with Rick (after a dozen times of breaking up and making up), I’m broke and my present job doesn’t fulfill me in the slightest, my grades are slipping. And to top it all off the guy I was head over heels for has fallen for someone else.
I am no longer that girl who spoke with confidence three years ago as I listened to my friends, questioning why they would keep going back to men who didn’t give a hoot about them or their feelings. In fact, I am now that girl who messages my ex’s new girl sending her photos of me and her new man(my old man apparently) and screenshots of text messages I exchanged with the guy she now loves. I’m the girl who, if it hadn’t been for my ex living in another country, would probably be the one standing outside his door across the street, instead I send him long ass whatsapp messages calling him a dog and threatening to tell all our mutual friends what a monster he is.
I’ve become that crazy, delusional girl I used to mentor not so long ago.
Love, emotion and feelings will make you do crazy things. And some may disagree that it isn’t love if it’s one-sided or if one person goes off the handle and creates a fake Facebook profile simply to stalk their ex. But I would have to disagree with the naysayers. Love isn’t black and white and true love can hurt and make you do crazy things.
I’m not proud of my actions because for one thing my ex didn’t cheat on me. He simply wasn’t clear about his intentions for our future. I had no real reason to feel entitled to him if I wasn’t sure if we were in a relationship or not. Sure he’s at fault for not being honest about his feelings and leaving me completely and utterly confused. But what crushed me most was when I messaged “the new girl” with all my evidence that he had once loved another and she simply replied:
“hey girl…what exactly do you want from me or what do you want me to do?”
I sat there staring at the message across my screen and because I am, in fact, a sane human being despite my recent psychotic episodes, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted from her. I ran through the options in my head: a.) she could break up with him and I could have him but he had already seen how crazy I was and very clearly would never want anything to do with me again or b.) nothing at all.
There weren’t many options here. None where I could restore my dignity and pride. None where I would go back to being the girl I was before I got swept up in love without reservation that caused me to turn into a total nut job.
I’ve never reacted well to heartbreak but then again who does? Up until my ex broke my heart and fell in love with a harlot, I had reacted the way any girl is reasonably expected to react to a break up. But something about my most recent breakup caused me to become deeply deranged. I’ve said things I can’t take back in an effort to crush his pride the way he crushed mine and for what? Because he fell in love with someone else? The sad thing is I love love. I love seeing other people in love but the thought of never finding it myself hurt so deep as if someone close to me had died.
How does this story end? Well my ex has blocked me on all social media platforms. And can you blame him? I did message him to say I was happy his new girlfriend was so ugly.
Deep down inside I think that was my goal all along, to save myself from him by turning him off completely because if there was even a glimmer of hope that he still wanted me I would never be free of the pain of loving someone who was falling for someone else. I would have kept holding on like Andy’s toys in Toy Story knowing fully well Andy has moved onto better things. Hopefully I’ll end up like Woody and Buzz being adopted by some new kid who loves me immensely and with all his heart even if it’s just for a few years.
*all names have been changed for sensitivity’s sake