You know those PSA commercials where they show someone texting in their car and suddenly getting broadsided by a semi-truck in slow motion? When you see it, you’re shocked, frightened, horrified … and may even think about what the driver could have done differently to prevent such a terrible thing from happening.
My life felt like that a little less than two weeks ago. One minute, I was out at dinner with my significant other, my boyfriend of 7+ years, enjoying ourselves, and the next I felt I’d been slammed into by an accordion bus, so hard that it wrapped around both sides of me and squashed me in the middle. He split up with me because even though he loved me, he was no longer “in love” with me. Even now, I’m still bewildered and shaking my head like I got a concussion or something. And I’m afraid to slow down and stop to think about it, because if I do, I’ll be overwhelmed with despair – it chases me like some nameless figure.
Maybe I should look at this as a blessing, somehow. I can now get on with my regularly scheduled life. Whatever that was. I’m not spending my evenings driving around between El Cajon and Escondido, or Rancho Bernardo to El Cajon and then back up again to Escondido – because he has two dogs who can’t stay home alone and I have six cats who can. So on the nights I don’t have my kids with me, every other week, I’m going up to his house to spend time together and in between trying to make sure I’m still working a full-time job and occasionally saying hello to my cats. I can get back to learning yoga or exercising or expanding my mind and my horizons, learning to play the piano, whatever – now that I have all these free evenings. Maybe that was the problem, I forgot who I was, or who I was aspiring to be, somewhere along those past 7 years and he got bored with me.
The reality is, I had no regularly scheduled life outside of him. My future was planned out with him, both the near and the distant. In a couple of years, when my kids (or at least one of them) would be grown and off to college, and the other would at least be able to drive a car to high school, we could move to a different part of town, figure out a house arrangement that would accommodate the cats and the dogs in some kind of semi-harmony. We could both retire, and when it was just the two of us, we’d have plenty of time for all the travel we wanted to do. A trip on the Orient Express, another train ride through the Canadian Rockies; a riverboat cruise through Eastern Europe, to see Prague and Budapest and even Transylvania. All that time we wanted to spend together, we could finally spend. I wouldn’t always be driving to and from work or his house or driving my kids to school. It’s been this way since we met, since I’m not going to have my kids change school districts every other week, and our few attempts at trying to introduce cats to dogs have not gone well. Not to say I wouldn’t have been willing to try, given enough space for a decent Catio and a dog run.
Sigh. On one level, I am angry at him for screwing up the entire rest of my life. I was always able to see us together until one or the other of us passed away. Preferably me first, since I didn’t want to live without him, but hopefully not until into our 90’s and still being of relatively sound mind and body. We could have produced a whole video series on geriatric porn that would have given the rest home residents some inspiration.
But on the other hand, I am so fucking pissed at him. Maybe this is karma. It’s payback, finally, for divorcing my husband 11 years ago and probably breaking his heart and ruining his future dreams in the process. I’m not sure. The only thing I’m sure of with my ex-husband is that he’s probably more bitter about the monetary loss in his retirement accounts than he is with the physical loss of me. Although it feels like I’ve been through more than my share of crappy relationships and even crappier men in the interim that I would have thought karma and I would be even by now. I guess not. For the past seven years in this relationship, I’ve been the patient, accommodating, understanding one … the one who stood by and waited for him to get his life in order, for the time when either his son was out of college or out of the house, or a time when he would actually divorce his wife, who lives in another house elsewhere, with her boyfriend. That never happened, and he’s still married, but yet now I’m made to feel like me being upset about that issue is over-reacting. Am I?
I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I haven’t seen my boyfriend in almost two weeks, and I feel like I’m adrift at sea in a boat with no motor and no oars. Fortunately, I don’t think Richard Parker is aboard. I’m angry that he doesn’t seem to feel that I was worth fighting for, someone he would suggest going to counseling with to try and work things out. He used to tell me that he and his wife went to counseling multiple times, even did a marriage encounter weekend. I thought that was what couples who cared about making it last should do – fight for the relationship, find a way to make it work out. Nope. Instead this was just a cut-and-dried affair, like that’s it, I’m done with you. And I’m left sitting at Miguel’s with that deer in the headlights look.
This morning in the car I was listening to Jewel’s big song, Foolish Games. There’s a line in there where she says, “Excuse me, I think I’ve mistaken you for someone else, somebody who gives a damn, somebody more like myself.” I hope I’m wrong. We’ll see. In the meantime I feel broken, and spend my evenings crying until I have nothing left in me, wrung-out like a sponge … and yet by morning I always seem to be full of tears again.