I read somewhere that you learn something from every person who comes into your life and then leaves. I guess that’s what life is all about really, a learning curve. Making mistakes, trying to learn from them, moving on and becoming older, wiser, smarter.
I’ve been thinking about the decisions I’ve made in my life and whether or not I’ve learned from them. Whether I’ve learned anything at all from the men I’ve dated, loved, and split from. Ten days later, ten days without ANY communication from Brown Eyes, I feel good. I feel better. I’ve finally unpacked the bag of goodies I’d planned to take to his last time. The new slippers and PJ’s I’d bought for me, the socks he’d sent me the link to and told me he loved / wanted, the new gadget for him I’d been waiting weeks for, the shortcake biscuits I knew he’d like, the toys and underwear I’d shopped for because I was in a filthy mood at the time …
It hurt, don’t get me wrong, but I think I did everything I could to try and make it work. Not just the biscuits and toys and socks but everything. The fact that it failed wasn’t down to me. I shouldn’t berate myself too much for this one. I really did try. I put myself out there for him. I really, really did.
For a few days I kept wondering how I could have done things better, how I could have ‘fixed’ what I’d said or done somehow to come to a different ending, but I’ve accepted it probably would always have ended that way anyway. Whether we agree that he’s a sociopath, a narcissist, depressed, or just a twat, he couldn’t keep check of his impulses, emotions or anger and eventually, we would have collided.
I’ve spent far too many years trying to calm myself down to end up with someone who couldn’t calm themselves down if they wanted to. I’ve also spent far too many years wondering ‘what if’. What if I had returned Jock’s message a year ago? What if I’d waited for my husband to come back from the War Zone before I left him? What if I hadn’t said those things to Big Love and told his father he was back on drugs? Would things have ended any differently? Would I have ended up with any of those men? The answer is no, probably not, and do you know how I came to that conclusion? Let me tell you …
When I saw Jock in that traffic jam a few weeks back, I was upset but not as upset as I thought I would be. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, seeing him for the first time since we split. It upset me and I was shocked, but it wasn’t as gut-wrenching as I’d always imagined it to be. I didn’t spend days or nights crying for him. I gave him his fifteen minutes of fame (otherwise known as tears) and got over it.
If you’d told me a year ago I could feel like that about that man, I never would have believed you. Once upon a time I thought he had and was everything I wanted but when I saw him in that traffic jam the other day, I realised nothing had changed. He would never have changed for me. He probably still hasn’t changed for his new girlfriend. Sorry, fiancee. I bet they’re still having problems with his ex just like he’s still using his phone while driving even though he kept promising me he’d stop. I know he still does that because I saw him doing it. I know he’s still overweight because I saw him. I bet he still smokes too. I bet he still hasn’t sorted out his crazy ex. I bet his current relationship is suffering just as much as ours did because of her. I bet these things because I saw for myself that nothing had changed. Despite me trying to get him a better job, a job he wanted and told me to help him get, he still works for that recovery company. He hasn’t bettered himself. He’s exactly the same. Nothing has changed and if I’d stayed, nothing would EVER have changed. We would have carried on having the same arguments, the same problems, the same failures. Would I have been happier? No. Was the breakup a good thing for me? Yes. Did I realise that at the time? No.
It’s taken me a good couple of years and a few poor judgement calls but I’ve finally realised that being with Jock wasn’t right for me. He DID change my mind about having kids but he wasn’t the right guy to have them with. He DID make me see where I wanted my future to go but now I CAN see that it wasn’t ever meant to be with him.
It’s taken a couple of years but I have learned. I did learn. It wasn’t all in vain. I’d like to think that what I learned from him, and a few of the others too, helped me get out of the Brown Eyes situation in time. I don’t know if he was a bad man. I’ll never know. He might have been the love of my life or he might have been the guy who beat up his ex-girlfriend and locked me in his apartment. All I know is that when he ditched me for the second time for seemingly no reason, screamed at me down the phone with insults not usually reserved for someone you ‘love’, and continually laid the blame with me, I had to make a decision. I could either follow him down the path I’ve followed every time before and chase him into the darkness, or I could free myself from his clutches and get out before I let him destroy me. So I did the latter and now I’ve done it, I can’t look back. What’s been said and done can’t be taken back, and now I don’t trust him.
I don’t trust that he wouldn’t do this to me every week, that he wouldn’t break up with me every time he was in a bad mood or felt that I wasn’t paying him enough attention. I don’t trust that he wouldn’t try to make me feel this shit about every argument we have. I don’t trust that he wouldn’t just hop on to Tinder and fuck some other girl every time he disagrees with something I’ve said. I don’t trust that he could control himself when he really needs to. If he couldn’t stop himself from blocking me or jumping onto a dating site when I said something to upset him, how could I trust him to stop himself doing other things, worse things?
So yes, I have learned. I’ve learned that when warning signs appear, you shouldn’t ignore them. And although I brushed them under the carpet at first, they’re impossible to ignore now. I’ve also learned that an ex is always an ex for a reason. If he couldn’t even be bothered to apologise for those shitty, hurtful and blatantly disrespectful things he said to me, and the way he acted towards me, he’s certainly not the right man for me. I know when to apologise and when to back down when I’m in the wrong. If I’m dating someone older, I would expect them to have that personality trait too.
I’m sure it’ll hurt from time to time, and I know I’ll probably think of him with sad nostalgia one day, but for now I feel good. I just so happen to have given myself the ‘week off’, I’ve got freebie theatre tickets to enjoy, I’ve just eaten that entire pack of shortcake biscuits I bought for him, and I’ve now got a spare £400 in my back pocket that I’d originally reserved for his up and coming birthday. Maybe if he’d known that’s what I was doing while he was getting the hump about me not making one poxy night free, he’d have reacted differently. Oh well. Just in time for my birthday too. What a shame.
Perhaps every dark cloud really does have a silver lining?