Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 24, 2012

Walnut Heart

I'm not sure if last week's break up with Geek Rebel was the best decision somebody else ever made for me or if my heart has just shriveled up to a walnut-sized piece of hard resin. Either way, I seem to be bouncing back after being unceremoniously and unexpectedly dumped last Thursday night.

What happened? Well, if you'd asked me last Wednesday how things were going, I would've said, "Pretty good. We're still figuring each other out and hitting some bumps in the road while we're doing it. Like last weekend when we had a somewhat unsettling argument while trying to plan our first vacation together. We're both still a bit shaken up from the whole thing, but we talked it through, realized our various misunderstandings (mostly on his part, he would agree) and moved on at least enough to book all of our hotels for our two-week Canadian Rockies vacation."

Shows you what I know. The next night he showed up at my front door, holding a stack of my DVDs and his copy of my house key, already detached from its ring for swift handing-over. 

I felt weird that whole afternoon, even though he and I had communicated the same as always all that week. I went to a movie on Thursday night with a friend and was thinking about him the whole time because the movie was really good ("Searching for Sugarman," wonderful documentary) and I knew he would've enjoyed it. I wished he had been there with me and I thought, why not tell him so? I've never been the “spontaneous drop-by visit” kind of girl (there I things I just don't want to find out with an unannounced visit) but I thought, after our argument, it would be a nice gesture to go out of my way to drive to his house just to give him a hug and tell him I missed him. 

But I was nervous as I was driving there. I didn't even know why. I called him when I was about one minute away and he didn't answer; strange for 9pm on a weeknight. When I got there, all of his lights were on and I could see his computer monitor lit up through the window. Clearly he’d been home within the last few minutes. I normally just let myself in with his security code but it didn't feel right so I rang the doorbell. His dog barked but he never came. I waited, rang again. I could see his car was gone from the garage. Now it's really weird because, I can assure you, this guy rarely left his house on the weekends, let alone a weeknight (just one of the many red flags I chose to set aside.)

I took a deep breath, sent him a casual "stopped by to give you a hug" text and drove home. On the way I thought, "Wouldn't it be weird if he was at my house waiting for me?" Since I knew that he is also not the spontaneous drop-by kind of person, this thought held no giddiness for me. 

About two minutes after I got home, my doorbell rang. There he was, looking distressed, but mostly unable to look me in the eye. "What are you doing here?" I asked, trying to ignore my sinking stomach.

"I came to break up," he said as he handed me the stuff in his hand, seeming like he's ready to turn around and go home, having said the only words he felt were his duty to say. I felt otherwise.

"Why?" I asked in almost a whisper, holding the door half-open.

All he could muster was "We don't fight well."

"But we're just figuring each other out," I said, still not quite believing this was happening. He muttered something about us not having the time to figure it out, an obvious reference to my ticking biological clock. We're both about to turn 40 and he wants kids too, but apparently only with someone who will never, ever argue with him in an emotional manner, which I do on occasion. Meanwhile, there are about five or six red flags about him that have been taking up space in the back of my mind, and they're pissed as hell about being ignored for the last eight months, especially after he took me out of the game after one offense (that I know of, and one that I still think is bullshit).

But I said none of this. All I could say was, "You have my bike." Back to the perfunctory. He said he would return that and my other stuff and take care of all the vacation cancellations. I closed the door and sat at my desk in numb silence, walnut heart barely beating.

He dropped the stuff off a few days later, clearly trying to just leave it at the door. But my dog barked and I thought I'd open the door just to make his life a little bit uncomfortable since I'd had to sit for a few days with what was still an unexplained dumping (not to mention a canceled vacation that I desperately needed after working two jobs for two years straight). Again, he could barely look at me and I stood there, watching him unload stuff from his car, his whole body tense and awkward. Finally I said, "Aren't you even going to talk to me?"

Mumble, mumble. I'm still processing or something like that. I replied "Well, at least you know what's going on." And then he left.

Cue the anger, followed by a deep, calm sadness that truly scared me.

Two days ago he sent me an email saying that my last comment made him realize he probably should offer me an explanation, even though he doesn't really have to. But he's such a nice guy he'll do it so I don't suffer.

I paraphrase of course because I only skimmed it and can't bring myself to read it again. There was something in there about me raising my voice (which I do when I get emotional, something I've worked very hard to improve upon and something I've done maybe twice since we've been together. And trust me, if he thinks I was yelling last weekend, he wouldn’t have lasted two seconds with me in my 20s). Apparently he wouldn't want to bring a child in to a home where someone raised their voice. His family, while lovely, are quiet WASPs. My people are Jews. Yelling, angry Jews.

There was more, I think. But what's the point in absorbing it? I am just about the best version of myself I’ve ever been and worked damn hard to get here. I know he can’t say the same about himself (another cluster of red flags there). And after seeing the wimpy way he went about erasing me from his life, there was no going back even if he did seem inclined to want to talk things out. All those red flags I'd shoved away were whipping in the wind, smacking me across the face at every chance they got. I don't blame them. 

I'm mad at myself for how readily I handed myself over to the next kind, intelligent man who seemed to "get" me, even though he had so many of the same character traits that I'd determined, after Wine Guy and Only Child, I would never tolerate again. Those traits are my relationship kryptonite. Still, it's hard to reconcile the man who turned his back on me so quickly with the one who'd been so loving and thankful for my presence in his life only one week earlier.

But after a few days of bleak misery, I'm starting to see the light of life again. I'm back to my glorious "me time," which is fine since I am my favorite person to be with these days - probably because I barely have anyone to hang out with (except my dog of course, and she is the best companion/friend I've got). But I'm working on that because, well, I am not a wimp. Life must be lived – even if you don’t have a husband and a baby to post about on Facebook every day. 

Oh, did I tell you it took me about three days post-dumping to book my dream vacation to Vietnam? I leave in two weeks. 



Diary of Why said...

So sorry to hear that.

And good for you for booking your own vacation. I'm jealous. Hope you blog about it. :)

Anonymous said...

You are handling this very well. And huge kudos to you for booking your dream vacation! - Samantha (formerly of Bewitched in LA)

Anonymous said...

Don't know quite what to say.

Other than that you totally rock.

And, as nice as the Canadian Rockies are, they don't hold a candle to Vietnam.


Dark Cloud Nine said...

I'm sorry to read this too. I had been thinking about you and was wondering what your story was becoming. I was sort of thinking/hoping no news, good news and was leaving you to it... I'm still here if you want to meet someday, before or after Vietnam... You are quite an amazing woman... I shall try to not whine too much about my pathetic little roller coaster.

Anonymous said...

I don't know.

How long were you together? I ask this because I'm wondering if you were together long enough that yelling would reasonably be involved.

I could see getting freaked out if the person I'd only dated for a few months started yelling at me.

I'd be thinking ... wow, we've only been dating this long and he couldn't control his anger! How much worse is it going to get down the road?

Just a thought.

Dating Trooper said...

Thanks everyone.
Anon, good and reasonable question. We were together 7 months, which I think is plenty long enough to have some heated conversations, which this one was. Our normal disagreements were always remarkably calm, something I thought we did so well together (and he said so as well). But this one had a lot of weight to it -- sort of the "can I live with this?" about the other person-- and emotions ran high. When that happens for me, my volume rises. I wasn't even "mad" at him so definitely wasn't yelling "at" him. But he gets quiet when emotions run high, so I'm sure any volume, no matter how it was intended, bristled. I just think it's unreasonable to ask a person with a tendency such as mine to never slip up.

Of course, these are all the reasons why we aren't a match and I'm at least thankful that he saw it first and ended it (though I thought it was something we could've worked through), instead of wasting years of my time like OC and WG. Not a fan of how he did it but, who ever is?

ebg said...

Ugh, sorry to hear it DT. FWIW, a chunk of my 30's sucked but my 40's have totally rocked. Lots of stuff I'd resigned myself to just not being in my future all of a sudden started happening.

You are so due for some happiness. Booking the trip to Vietnam rocks! I hope that other fronts (your physical health, your family, etc...) things are good and calm.

Have a fan-freaking-free of pita male- tastic time on your trip!


Anonymous said...

DT, I'd been wondering how things were going. If it's any comfort, my breakup with Performer, which perhaps you can remember, though it was December 2007 (!), was just as unpleasant, and he was so much worse than Geek. I took the blog down, so you can't reread it, and I don't know if it would make you feel any better. That whole exchange of possessions thing, which I've been through far too many times, is so incredibly difficult. I'm glad for you that it's over. One thing people often said to me in my recent (06 - 09) dating phase was 'you dodged a bullet.' I began to hate that phrase, but it's often true, as it clearly was this time. Having read your blog since the very beginning, I can say that you sound really good, really sane, and I know you're going to be good in the long run. It took me to age 62 to figure things out in the romantic area, but I don't think it will take you that long. Have a wonderful time on your trip. A brilliant idea altogether. Sending you love & luck & good thoughts. Mimi xx

Anonymous said...

Dear DT,
I'm sorry to hear that, as he had sounded promising, though you never blogged about him - wonder why not?

Your holiday in Vietnam sounds terrific - and I agree with others that far more fun than the Rockies (that's a bit staid and for retirees in my view).
I hope you have a great time,

Rebecca in London

Anonymous said...

I've dodged many bullets, although it didn't seem so at the time.

The one guy I was the most crazy about was one of the biggest dodges. It's not that he didn't have the good qualities I saw; it's that once I calmed down (took years) I had to be honest with myself that I actually want very different things from a man than who he is.

And the things I want to be different are very significant things that would impact my happiness with any man.

It was a valuable lesson and I'm much more aware of what I'm looking for. He would have only fulfilled some of my needs and the ones he couldn't fulfill are very important to me.