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    Tuesday, November 08, 2005
    When Life’s Beatings Turn to Blessings
    I’ve recounted the story many times. Both to people I’ve met since then, and here on this site. It’s the story of The Ex. And until yesterday, I thought the story was over. Apparently I was wrong.

    The minute I told my friends that The Ex had emailed me the first question out of their mouths was “You’re not going to email him back, are you?” which was quickly followed by “You KNOW you can’t email him back, right?!”. What this led to were a lot of very long conversations and a lot of me thinking about everything over and over again.

    When I first saw his name in my inbox my breath literally caught in my throat. I was completely shocked and though I didn’t want it to happen, the memories of that day came flooding back to me. The breakfast I made (scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast). My complete incomprehension when he started telling me he was leaving (What do you mean?). The Notre Dame hat he was wearing as he walked out the door. The last hug. And the way the ceiling looked as I collapsed onto the floor moments after his car had pulled away.

    For months after that I lived on MM’s pull out couch in New Jersey waiting for her lease to end so we could move in together. I dated Crazy Rebound Guy for three months. MM and I moved to a new apartment, I got a new job. Slowly, I stopped thinking about it daily. I moved on. What I never did, in all that time, was get mad at him. My friends and family did that for me (and god HELP the poor kid if he ever runs into my mother).

    But then about a year ago I found out that The Ex was joining the Marines. It was something I had sort of expected, he had been talking and thinking about it for years. I had to get in touch with him. Though I hadn’t talked to him in ages, I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if God forbid something had happened to him and I hadn’t tried to talk to him first. So I sent an email. I never heard back. In time I even completely forgot I sent that email.

    But I was reminded of it all when I saw his name. And as I read the email I almost couldn’t breathe. He said he was surprised to hear from me, and that since it had been a year since I had emailed him I was probably surprised to be hearing from him now too. He said he hadn’t checked his Yahoo! Account in years (though don’t they turn those accounts off after a while?). He said he was stationed in CA, that he appreciated my well wishes and congratulations on his enlistment. And then he said he was sorry. He said he knew he had handled it poorly and that he’d like to leave things on a better note. That if I still wanted to catch up, I should email him back.

    My immediate response was to hit reply and start typing. So that’s what I did. But then there was nothing to write. I couldn’t for the life of me think what to write. So I closed the window and threw myself into work, trying in vain to put it in the back of my head to think about later.

    Over the course of the day, after telling the story to friends, to family, to my new roommates, I realized one thing. I wasn’t holding on to him anymore, I was hanging on to the hurt. Any time I told the story you could still hear the hurt in my voice.

    But there’s really no reason to hold onto it. To the contrary my life is a thousand times better today than it would have been had he and I stayed together. Life kicked the shit out of me for a good three months afterwards, but it turned out for the best.

    Did he choose a rather cowardly way to end the relationship? Clearly. But that was a long time ago. I know I am a very different person than I was then. Now that he’s a Marine I have to assume he is too.

    So I emailed him back. Not because I want to rekindle a romance. Not because I want to know why he left. Not because I want more closure. But because, no matter how much time passes, he was a major part of my life for a long time.

    I wrote and told him I was surprised to hear from him, but glad too. I asked him exactly when he enlisted, what boot camp was like, how his family was (I absolutely adored them). And then I told him the truth. I told him where I was living, and where I was working. I told him I appreciated his apology. That I wasn’t going to lie, that it kicked my ass, but made me better in the long run. I never actually “accepted” the apology, and intentionally so. If what he’s really looking for is forgiveness he’s not going to get it out of me in one email.

    So we’ll see how he responds. Or even if he responds. Either way, a lot of good has come out of this already. It once again made me realize how fucking fantastic my life is right now. And it finally made me realize I hadn’t let go of the hurt yet, and that it was time to do so.

    Labels:

    posted by FINY @ Tuesday, November 08, 2005  
    19 Comments:
    • At 11/08/2005, Blogger Michael Leggett said…

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

       
    • At 11/08/2005, Blogger FINY said…

      Michael, I'm really sorry I had to delete that comment. I may feel really good about what's gone on over the last few days, but I couldn't really take my 3.5 year relationship with someone compared to a computer upgrade. Sorry.

       
    • At 11/08/2005, Blogger Miss Browneyedgirlie said…

      I was in a similar situation about 2 years ago - though there hasn't been contact since.

      What I find so amazing about it is how much better my life is without him. Letting go of an emotionally unhealthy relationship was the best thing I ever did for myself.

      And it opened up the door for someone light years better :)

      I'm glad you were able to lift that weight from your shoulders..it's a great feeling, isn't it?

       
    • At 11/08/2005, Blogger Esther said…

      As we said earlier tonight, I had never really heard you tell the story, since I was there when this all happened. But I guess you were holding on to something, and with the way your life has gone since he walked out that door, I'm glad you're giving up the pain and the hurt.

      And damn right - if I ever run into him, he's dead.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger Michael Leggett said…

      Understood! Life is important. Where did that Ex, get his nerve?

      You made Peace & Deliscious Lemonade.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger BlackJack said…

      I was firmly in the 'don't email him' camp - but I'm glad that you feel so good after having responded to him. And letting go of the hurt is important. That in and of itself is a tremendous step forward.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger FINY said…

      girlie: It IS a great feeling. And I'm glad you let go of yours too, but perhaps I am biased? ;)

      esther there are a long line of friends and family waiting to kick his ass! He may be a Marine now, but no way he can take on a mob by himself.

      beejer: There were a lot of people in that camp with you, but I had to do what felt right. And it turned out to be the right decision ...

      He emailed me back. It was a very casual, what he's up to now kind of thing. He did say he almost died on Day 3 of training, got heat stroke, went to the hospital, had to have a spinal tap. But he seems content. I'm not going to respond to this one, there's really not much left to say. But it feels really really good to have that behind me now.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Anonymous saikoBoy said…

      Man.. I *totally* get what u went thru.. For me its always 1 year+ that i realise that things have gotten a LOT better than before and that the whole incident was a perfect learning experience..

      The thing you should ask yourself is: are u hanging on? and if so, are u hanging on to him, the relationship, or the feeling (they overlap a bit, but u get my drift)

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger Ari said…

      You are a damn good person, and I am sure people will ask are you hanging on, and the answer to the question is no way, you are doing whats right in your heart and even you know that its right to treat people with respect and dignity even if they haven't always done that to yoursef. Because of that you will truly be free and be able to move on further in any relationships that you have in the future. So I say good for you.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger lizy said…

      Good for you, FINY. I always listen to what my friends have to say, but usually make my own decision.

      I think that life has kicked the crap out of all of us at one point, or another. I have had it happen a few times: with one of them, I literally lived at the end of a bar, drinking screwdrivers and smoking Marlboro milds.

      It passed. I met the perfect person when I was ready. Good for you for letting go. Now you will be ready for the right person, too.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger kate.d. said…

      though i'm a pretty new reader, i just wanted to throw this in there:

      i think it's great that you're able to think about this past relationship in a new light, and make a conscious effort to change your perspective. just be careful not to try to do too much too fast - it's going to take a while to really let go of that hurt, you know? it's a huge step to acknowledge that it's something you need to do and want to do, just don't beat yourself up if it ends up taking a little longer than you expect.

      good luck and take care :)

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger sethro said…

      As one door closes, two more open. Its what I've found to be true, anyway. Usually holds true in relationships and breakups as well. I can only think of one relationship that I have a true regret about the split, but honestly, I wouldn't trade my life or experiences. We learn, we grow. Your statement, I wasn’t holding on to him anymore, I was hanging on to the hurt is as profound as I've heard. Poignant in my life, I can tell you that. Rock on, finy. Rock on.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger FINY said…

      saikoboy: I am proud to say, I'm not. In a way I had been. I had worn the emotional scar like a war wound. I was proud of how well I had made it through the whole thing. But two and a half years later ... it's time to take the band off my arm.

      ari: Thank you. You're right it was what was right for me. I couldn't ignore him, or his email. And I literally feel ten thousand times better now.

      lizy: I do the exact same thing. And I could feel myself doing it this time too. Listening to all the rational arguemtns my friends had for me to not email him back while at the same time crafting the response in my head. They still love me though :)

      kate.d: Welcome. You've picked a rather dramatic moment to enter into the weird little world I have going on here :) This was actually the last step in a long 2.5 year process of getting over it. I've been over HIM for a long time now, and am actually dating a great guy. It was just time to put the entire story behind me.

      sethro: Welcome to you too! And thanks for the comment. It's nice to know when something hits home with someone.

       
    • At 11/09/2005, Blogger Cope said…

      Thanks for sharing. You give hope to those of us who were more recently jilted.

       
    • At 11/10/2005, Blogger -- said…

      Good for you! That's tough. Ug. I still remember 6 months after we broke up, the Poet wrote me, on CHRISTMAS mind you, "missed you around the piano last night. It would have been great to have you singing Xmas carols with the family.... Oh, but don't take that as I want to get back together, because I don't."

      Nice. Ex emails always have the potential to send one down a spiral of yucky feelings.

       
    • At 11/10/2005, Blogger Michael Leggett said…

      Peace! FiNY, You're One Fab Lady!

      Michael

       
    • At 11/10/2005, Blogger FINY said…

      cope: I promise it gets better. Just takes time. But then again, I am sure EVERYONE is telling you that, and if you're anything like me it makes you want to punch them in the face ... please don't hurt me! :)

      Kristin: Tell me he didn't actually write "don't take this ..." sigh. And men wonder why we get bitter.

      Michael: Thanks!

       
    • At 11/10/2005, Blogger Chief Slacker said…

      At least you took the time to think it though and didn't jsut write soemthing without thinking. Sounds like you're in a good place. Keep on keepin on sister.

       
    • At 11/16/2005, Blogger L1 said…

      Hey FINY!

      1. It sounds like you did the right thing. You responded, you took the high road, you let him know you got past it.

      2. I have had some spectacular love affairs since I burst my way onto the dating scene. And I have suffered some excruciating blows along the way. I used to console myself with the thought that I was building my romantic resume. I would imagine the bullet points under each relationship (Bought a major appliance together! Cheated on me with the girl behind the Estee Lauder counter! Went to the Daytona 500 with his parents! Jumped out of a moving car during an argument! Made love on the Florida Turnpike! etc.) I was able to look back with wonder at what I'd accomplished, and how romantic and exotic each relationship was, if you looked at it the right way. Sometimes, I had to squint to see the excitement, but it was always there.

      3. Point being, this experience helped make you the person you are today. As Nora Ephron says, everything bad that happens becomes a good story later.

      4. Some of my most painful stories from the past are the ones I tell best now. You know, when everyone at the table is clutching their last glasses of wine and hanging on every word.

      5. I now thank all those guys for giving me material and experience. But my damn resume is long enough now. I've started lopping off some of the early stuff, kind of like those fast food jobs that don't matter in the long run.

       
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