I’ve written over 4,000 words about this, hoping to release what’s been bottled up. The first draft was like the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment; an explosion of emotional baggage I’ve carried since the first breakup. After reading it a few times, I realized that was not something I’d want anyone to read, even if they could comprehend it. So I started over. The second draft was less volatile, shook up with the leftover carbonation. The second breakup was like that, a little less fizz but the main ingredients were still there. By the time we reach the third, everything poured out. There was nothing left worth saving. I was done.
This is the third and final draft, edited in love, to clear the air.
Let me first start by saying I love her everything. She has that natural ten kind of beauty, a face you’d never forget. Like any Disney princess, her eyes are wide and sweeping, especially when she stretches her eyelids, making them that much bigger. The sound of her laughter is obnoxiously awesome, guaranteed to turn heads in public; and one of the best sounds I’ve heard. Making her bust up was my favorite; she made it easy to do and I loved doing it. She’s a wonderful mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and daughter. She’s a sexy goofball, warm and welcoming. My daughters have adored every minute with her. All of my friends and family gave me the thumbs up. This was my woman and she’d be the first on my list to waste time with. We could have done anything, except figuring out how to make it work.
Weeks before the last breakup, she walked in the kitchen and handed me a copy of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. I noticed another copy in her other hand. She asked me if we could read it together. I already knew my primary love language wasn’t receiving gifts, I had read the book before, but the fact she took this initiative wowed me. It really did. She meant so much to me, and I still believed we had a lasting future together, but the fibers that were holding us together were weakened to only a few threads. I looked forward to reading it and working together, for us. She had broken up with me twice during verbal arguments, something I never expected. We swam through that mud, forgiving each other for letting stupid disagreements separate the love between us, but the damage in me was done. The seed of insecurity, my lack of trust in her, had been planted. Fool me twice, right?
Her purchasing the book was a huge step forward, and we agreed that we’d read it separately, but do the worksheets together. The worksheets help couples figure out their own, and their partner’s, love language. This was cool. I could imagine many men shudder at the thought they need help in their relationship, but when you love someone like I loved her and our mini-blended, non-stop family life of craziness, I was willing to do anything to keep us together. I wasn’t doing it for the kids either. I wanted her. We had a history of failures to communicate. We couldn’t understand each other at the deeper level. We were unconscious to what we each needed, and what we needed to give. This was the stuff we needed to find out. It was nice to know she wanted that too.
When I finished the book within a couple of weeks of receiving it, I asked her how far along she’d gotten. She hadn’t. She was reading another book. This was hurtful. I didn’t care if the other book was the Holy Bible. This was urgent and important. One day, while I was in the middle of the read, she walked in saying, “This really means a lot to me. It shows you’re trying.” I loved the recognition, feeling warm by the acknowledgement, causing me to believe that she understood my love language. It filled my tank, almost to the point where I could have ripped her clothes off and paid her back in physical compliments. When I learned that her book was collecting dust, her words meant nothing to me.
We’d have another disagreement, leading to the final breakup a few weeks later. Verbal knives were thrown, severing the last of our fibers. I’ll never forget her six words that told me she had enough. My six words: I need 30 days to move. She wanted seven. I remember telling her, “It’s going to be awkward, but I promise you that I will try to make this as smooth of a transition as possible.” I’d gone through a divorce before, which is what this felt like, voluntarily making the other person’s life miserable. I didn’t want that for her. I wanted to make it easy. I think I did a good job at it. I moved on.
It was about a month and a half ago when we started talking again. This was after being separated for three months in complete silence. The texts came out of nowhere, but it would lead to a dozen or so hours on the phone, eventually inviting her over to talk. I was opening my door again. There were lots of things I needed from her while we sat on my porch that night. An authentic apology for starters, one that didn’t end in “but” or had the word “you” in it. I wasn’t playing games here. I wasn’t trying to finagle my way into her pants. This shit was real to me.
She broke down and apologized like I’ve never felt from anyone. In the year we were together, this was the first time I ever saw her cry. The cold wall I was used to, when things were heavy between us, was no more. All the things I never thought she’d ever say were being said. I wasn’t happy in her sadness, taking the brunt of our dissolution, but damn it felt good to see this side of her. A happy sigh, the letting go in complete forgiveness, traveled throughout my body. The weight was gone. She was waiving her white flag, slowly winning me back.
And she did. She hit every bone in my body with brute and loving force. We talked a lot about making significant changes to how we once were. We talked about the hope we both held, the undying love for each other and how this time it’d be forever. We promised to find the core to our issues, and be unafraid to say what the problem is. We spoke about forgiving each other sooner and not letting the space or elephants cause more damage than what’s already destructed. If there was ever a relationship I wanted to be in, this was it. I fell in love with her all over again, and it was better than the first time.
The only thing I’d post on my personal Facebook account was a picture of us together at my friend’s wedding, saying, “Surprise.” Besides getting a bunch of likes, it’d be the only indication to my 294 friends that we were back together. I didn’t owe my friends an explanation. We’re two imperfect people that love each other. We’re trying to figure it out. We want to figure it out. We want to be together. We love each other.
I never expected the pattern to return so quickly, having the first real spat since reuniting. It took two weeks, but the same, systematic results came in. It’s never been the issue itself, those have always been stupid. It’s always our reactions that dissolve us. “Take me home,” was something I never heard before because we used to live together, but the silence that followed deafened me in familiarity. I clammed up too. That was my choice, and I shouldn’t have. All I wanted was the woman on my porch back. I didn’t care about what happened, I cared about the now and how we’d move past it.
I couldn’t and I broke it off last week. The scars of our prior relationship are too deep for me and the scabs haven’t hardened up. The telltale signs leading to the inevitable breakup poured water on my seed of insecurity. I got scared of being hurt again. Turning our irreconcilable differences into stories we could tell our engaged grandchildren is now a sad afterthought. My lack of trust, never knowing when, where or why she might breakup with me, is what will keep us apart. Like the parent of a child convicted of robbery, you’re going to love them no matter what. But when they’re released and come over for dinner, I can bet you’ll lock up all your valuables. It’s not fair to her that I’d bring this to our table. I’m very sorry for not knowing that prior.
Though it sucks, and I’ve been a complete mess lately, I’m grateful you’ve spent the time to read this. Things will get better, they always do. Some of you may know the “her” that I speak of. Please respect her name. She did nothing wrong. She is still being loved, and I’ll always remember the porch. And yes, my primary love language is affirming words. If anything, I hope someone can learn from my own mistakes.