Big Love My Dating Life 

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (This Time Last Year)

16.5-minute read

Content Warning: Discusses drug use & toxic relationship behaviour

Another day, another breakup movie. This time, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I find Russell Brand pretty funny, so this one made me laugh more than cry, but I definitely felt the breakup vibes in this one. You know how he turned into a blubbering mess trying everything in his power to forget the ex-girlfriend? Yeah, that’s me. Except I hide my blubbering mess-ness into my bedroom so that other people can’t see. I just tell you lot about it.

I’m having a tough time right now. I’ve had no plans over the weekend and I’m feeling loneliness set in. It’s making me reminisce, a lot. I found myself scrolling back through Facebook posts, going back to this time last year, and when I saw the posts it felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. Things are so very different to how they were this time last year.

Exactly a year ago, my best gal pal on the other side of the world took me to the movies so she could reveal her big news. She was pregnant. I’m not exactly the most baby-friendly person in the world, something she knew very well. She planned the reveal carefully, making sure that I knew it wouldn’t change the dynamic of our friendship too much. That was one of the things we’d complained about frequently: how friendships changed dramatically when a baby came along. She was a happily married woman, though. I knew it would come eventually. I was actually really excited for her after she told me, eager to watch her go through this fantastic, life-changing process, holding her hand and supporting her as best as I could. Sadly, Big Love and I broke up before she gave birth, and I moved back to my side of the world, so I never got the chance to do the things with her that we’d talked about.

That’s not the only thing that happened this time last year. I also went to a Halloween party. Alone. Big Love and I were meant to have gone together, and I had the cutest outfit all planned out. We fought, though. Just like we did before so many events and occasions. And, just like so many of those other ones, he didn’t go and I went alone. I was surrounded by couples for the entire night and I couldn’t help but feel like a spare part.

This time last year, we were heavily stuck in a toxic and soul-destroying cycle. We’d make up, break up, make up, break up, make up, break up. Constantly. He’d go out for a “few drinks” with the boys and not come home for a few days, spending our money throughout. I know he spent a lot on cocaine and alcohol. I think he spent some on strippers. I have a sneaky suspicion he might have paid for sex … or a hotel to have sex with someone in. We’d text-fight during his disappearing act, me worried because his drug-fuelled behaviour was becoming more and more erratic, and him annoyed because he wanted to carry on partying. It would often take hours for him to text back, and as soon as I objected to whatever he was doing, he’d just break up with me again.

“I’m sorry. I’m done. It’s over.”

As soon as the money/drugs/alcohol run out, or he was kicked out of wherever he was staying, he’d come home. He’d apologise for his behaviour profusely, promising me he’d get help and do whatever it took to make things right. He’d beg on his knees for us to get back together, pleading with me to forget he ever told me that we were broken up. And I’d fall for it every time. We’d get back together, start getting things back on track again, and then the cycle would start again. It was a vicious cycle, assisted by his working patterns. Two weeks on and then one week off. That meant two weeks of us being together, followed by a week of us breaking up. It was so predictable that even my friends made jokes about it. At the time, it felt like a cycle I couldn’t ever break free from.

It was brutal. It hurt a lot. I spent a lot of time crying my eyes out to my best gal pal, but she’d been telling me to leave him for so long, she wasn’t even interested in listening to my sobs anymore. She still did, but she did it with a look in her eyes that said “I told you so” without her lips ever needing to. I was adamant I could help him, though. I thought I could fix him. I thought I could make everything better with the amount of love I had in my heart for him.

But drugs have a funny way of changing someone, especially that kind of drug: cocaine. Once he had that stuff up his nose he turned into someone completely different. Someone far removed from the charming, funny, clumsy man I’d fallen in love with. He turned evil and nasty, saying things that I couldn’t imagine him ever saying. He was locked in the cycle just as much as I was. Drinking, drugs, the drug-taking people he hung around with … He made a lot of money, but then he spent a lot of money, and we both knew that it would come to a dangerous, explosive crescendo sooner or later. And it did.

It wasn’t long before drinking and drug-taking took over more than just his week off; it splashed over into his working days. And on his working days, he was in charge of a very large vehicle, one with lots of wheels and heavy machinery, in thick snow and dangerous ice. One day — day two of his two-week working stint — it all went wrong. He got ready for work after sleeping very little the night before, still high and twitchy from the cocaine he’d started secretly taking in our bathroom. To try and bring the comedown along a little quicker, he decided to have a coffee and a joint. The cocktail of the two completely destroyed him and as he was driving along, in his big and dangerous truck, he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a snowbank. He was drug-tested by his employer, failed the drug test (obviously), and was fired. It was the scariest time of my life. It wasn’t for him; he’d already been in that situation once or twice already and bounced back.

I was on the other side of the world. My boyfriend had just been fired. He had a cocaine problem that was evidently getting out of control, and I no longer knew how to control the situation. I’d lost all control. And trust. I was scared that he’d come home and throw me out into the street in the middle of the night, off his face on drugs. There were times that our fights got physical, him pushing and shoving me, and one time banging my head against the wall. He was a completely different person on cocaine. It took over him and transformed him, and it was a cycle he just couldn’t break. It was cocaine that broke up his marriage. It was cocaine that broke up the relationship that went before it. And then it was cocaine that tore us apart. Not just that, but I wonder how different things might have been if that drug wasn’t in the equation.

How different would things have been if I hadn’t found those two coffee cups on the table when I came home? He said it was nothing, but one of my gal pals told me she’d seen him at the movies, arm-in-arm with another girl that same morning. It broke my heart. They hadn’t just been to the movies together; they’d been sat on my couch together, drinking coffee out of my mugs together, watching my TV together. Did they have sex there? Did I sit right on the spot that he fucked her on my couch? Or did they just kiss? At that point, I wasn’t even aware that we were dating other people. I just assumed that we were doing our make up/break up thing again. Just another round of just another cycle. It was seeing those two coffee cups – a visual sign that he was seeing someone else – that I realised we really were getting to the end.

Not quite the end, but not far off.

We got back together again another time after that, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I found out the girl he’d been dating was a girl who worked in our gym, and I begged him to let us find another gym to sign up to. I didn’t want to see her face there. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing them smiling at each other. I asked him time and time again whether or not he’d slept with her, but he refused to answer the question. To me, his refusal to answer indicated that they definitely had, so I definitely did not want to come face-to-face with her at the gym.

He refused to change gyms. He told me that it was MY problem I couldn’t be around her, or them together. In the end, I stopped going – and he used that as one of the reasons why we needed to break up, later on. He enjoyed going to the gym and wanted a partner to go with, but I would no longer go with him because of her.

There were other her‘s too. He’d talk to one on the phone when I was in the house, watching me get reduced to tears at the sound of him dirty-talking to someone else but still going ahead and doing it anyway. And he’d make it obvious when he took his phone down into the bedroom too. I’d hear him slamming the door to wank himself off into one of the tissues from my box on my cabinet, that I bought, lying on my side of the bed. So many times I wanted to scream and shout so that she’d hear me there. He told me once that she didn’t know that we were still living together, and I wanted so often to use the information to my advantage, destroying his new relationship by proving what a liar he was. Instead, I kept my mouth shut, packed my stuff, booked my flights, and let him get on with it. I couldn’t believe the change in him. He turned into something trashy and, honestly, disgusting.

It took me a couple of months to get everything in order to move back to my side of the world. I only slept in our bed when he was away working and I moved all of my stuff into the spare room so that I could pack it away and send it back home. I booked two flights in total, the first of which he begged me not to take. And I didn’t. Losing a few hundred dollars seemed like nothing in comparison to getting my relationship back on track. But his good behaviour lasted for just a week. We went on a night out together, he took cocaine, left the club with another girl … It was a disaster. And it was also the end.

Our love story will always be our love story, filled with passion and adventure and memories that you actually couldn’t make up. But it’s also my saddest story. It makes me sad to think I couldn’t be the girl to make him want to get his life in check, and that I just wasn’t enough to keep him on the straight and narrow. But his problems had nothing to do with me; they were his problems. I never asked him to take drugs. I never told him to do that. In fact, I begged him not to. Multiple times. Over and over and over and over again, until I was blue in the face and my breath had run out. He never listened. Cocaine ruined us. It spent our money and took our time, caused our tears and made our relationship implode in on itself.

And I won’t ever touch the stuff again. Never.

Sadly, from what I’ve been told, he’s still locked in that vicious cycle.

Image by sammisreachers from Pixabay

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2 Thoughts to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall (This Time Last Year)”

  1. If you want a recommendation for a great break-up film, watch “He’s Just Not That Into You”. It’s funny, true-to-life (as much as a movie can be) and Bradley Cooper is HOT. Either that or the entire series of SATC from the very beginning. By the time you get to series six you’ll definitely be over it.

    Also, a word of advice. Don’t ever waste your time on a guy that’s messed up on drugs. You’ll spend so much of your time trying to fix them and their issues you’ll forget that there’s nobody looking after you and your needs too. If a relationship is truly good, that’s the only drug either of you will ever need.

    1. Yes! SATC has become my breakup bible. I have all six seasons, and I have seen them over and over again, still never get bored! I might start that tonight. I’m getting bored of the films. I don’t think they are getting me anywhere!

      Thanks for your comment xoxo

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