I don’t think I’ve ever said this directly. I’ve alluded to it practically a million times, but never just came out and said it in a singular post. It’s something I want in my archives.
This question was presented to me a while back: If your ex came back and said let’s work it out, would you?
The short answer: yes, and no.
Yes, I’d love to get to the point where I could visit my parents without massive anxiety. I’d love to get to the point where if he and I innocently cross paths in the course of minding our own business, that it wouldn’t illicit panic induced reactions from both of us which eventually escalate to screaming at each other, threats of restraining orders, law suits, etc.
BUT, none of those things are ever going to happen. It’s been too long, there’s been too much miscommunication, piled on top of an already volatile situation. I know the absolute best case scenario is to avoid one another like the plague, hoping and praying that we never, ever cross paths (even by accident) again. I’m not lost in any sort of hopeful fantasy that it will be different. Saying yes, I’m open to discussion on the matter is honest. If the stars aligned, hell froze over, the moon was waxing, the weather was right, and he approached me wanting to discuss it, I’d give him a chance. He’s not going to, which we’ll get to in a moment, but that’s irrelevant to my feelings on the matter.
The other half of my answer:
If he were to approach me trying to rekindle more than a polite acquaintance: no.
Now that I’ve finally dealt with my issues, I can see we had no business ever being much more than friends. It’s the very same reason our break up has been an atomic explosion of drama, and why the best option for moving forward is simply to never interact with each other again. It’s also why it took me so very long to come to terms with and really address it: The benefit of the doubt.
It would be easy to hold him accountable if all the really damaging circumstances between us hadn’t occurred when he was in an altered state of consciousness. I could go into detail and give specific examples, but for this purpose it’s not necessary. If he had been 100% aware of what he was doing, I would have pressed charges, and left him. That’s not how it happened. He didn’t respect me through our entire time together (I didn’t respect him either, so no faults there) but as far as the stuff I repressed/denied that triggered my trauma cycle? All of that, and I do mean ALL of it, happened somewhere in the space between his dreams and reality. There is no way for the human mind to really comprehend that emotionally. Logically, it makes perfect sense. I understand all the science and the why of what happened. The emotional aspect is the tricky part.
It was entirely out of his control. I’ve always known that. I’ve always said that, in the course of my writing. Not one single time have I ever placed blame on him for my disorder, or my struggling in anyway. Even when I was angry, I never said he was to blame. At times I wasn’t very kind, but there was no blame. If anything I blamed myself for being so blind and refusing to get the help I needed for my disorder when he first pointed it out. Yes, that’s right. He saw it years before anyone else did, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it.
He could have been completely aware of his actions, masking them with his sleep disturbance as an excuse to victimize me. Yes, the possibility exists and I could be completely foolish for believing otherwise. That’s what I’m talking about. There is no way to be certain. Wether he deserves it or not, he has the benefit of the doubt. As long as he has that, I can’t hold anything against him.
I still love him (there I’ve finally said it, like no one has figured it out by now), and every once and a while I do miss him. I probably always will. There’s no rhyme or reason, and no one (not even my therapist with all of her experience) knows why. It’s not possessive, it’s not obsessive, it’s not codependent, I’m not unhappy with the life I’ve made with my husband, it just is. I just do. Maybe love isn’t the right word. I just can’t find a different way to describe it.
He saved my life, he taught me how to navigate the real world after being trapped in my mother’s fantasy world for so long, he wasn’t the first guy I dated but he was my first true love. That doesn’t change anything. We don’t belong together. We didn’t back then either, but being primarily unhealthy as opposed to unhappy it lasted much longer than it should have.
I always thought the adage that you can love some one very much and still be mismatched was stupid. In my mind if you loved each other you made things work no matter what, but in reality that isn’t always the case. Sometimes when you really love some one, it’s better to let them go. Not because you don’t care about them, but because you care about them too much. The thought of losing them on anything other than your own terms becomes consuming and terrifying.
I’m not saying that’s what happened between he and I. No one really knows what happened between us at the end. He was happy and then he wasn’t. He was with me and then he wasn’t. That’s it. I don’t know, and his story changes every time he tells me so… it’s anyone’s guess really.
The one consistent thing between every version of “why” he gave me was this: his feelings for me were never the same as mine for him. Never, not even from the start. I understand that. I knew the likelihood of us remaining together forever was next to nothing, and I chose to be with him anyway. The end of the relationship was inevitable, and has never been the problem. It was my undiagnosed PTSD, keeping all of the other stuff forever looping through my head. All the other stuff, which boils down to shitty fucking circumstance. He is just as much a victim of those circumstances as I am. Anyone worth their salt in reading comprehension can see that in my writing.
In fact, all of my audience who’s here to actually support me instead of creeping on me loves him. He’s smart, funny, works hard, provides for his family; the guy made some poor choices that lead to some crazy shit, but who doesn’t? Whatever it was, if the story he told me was true or not, he survived. Even if it’s only a fraction of the things he told me, that’s pretty damn spectacular. A lot of other people wouldn’t have come out of a mess like that doing as well as he is. Or was last time I heard. It’s been a couple of years.
Together: we were the poster children for dysfunction. As an individual: he is an amazing person. A little rough around the edges, but amazing just the same. Even after everything we went through together, reliving all of those memories and dealing with everything I had denied for so many years, I don’t regret a single second I had the opportunity to spend with him. Perhaps he won’t be considered heroic to the general public in his life time, or live up to the expectations set before him. He will always be heroic to me; and anyone else who takes the time to read between the lines, listening beyond the anxious, self loathing bs he spouts off when he gets discouraged.
Yes. I feel this way even understanding that after so many years of trying to figure myself out, repeatedly digging at old wounds in the process, he loathes my very existence; and awaits news of my demise on baited breath. Which is why the likelihood of us ever working things out to ease our mutual panic/anxiety is essentially nonexistent. The man hates me. Every opportunity he’s had since we split up, he’s been sure to tell me how deep his hatred runs for me. I hear him, loud and clear, and I understand. It’s actually slightly amusing.
Him: “OMG STOP LOVING ME I HATE YOU. You can’t love me. I hate you. *rotating list of examples* You’re crazy!”
Me: “OMG STOP HATING ME I LOVE YOU. You can’t hate me. I love you. *rotating list of examples* Are you crazy?!”
We do the exact same thing every time it comes up. It’s a reaction to emotional manipulation, for the lack of a better word, a trigger. I know what the trigger itself is making it generally easier to work around. He knows, but he doesn’t want to accept it. That’s his choice so I’m not going to get into it here.
Honestly, we were always kind of black and white, on or off, love or hate. It’s pretty fitting that now we’ve become yes and no.
Edit 8/6/16: Well… after the most recent escapade between my ex and I, I can pretty much say the benefit of the doubt has been removed. He swears in his own words he’s never had night terrors, so I guess he just waited until I was asleep before he became a monster.
I feel a little foolish about fighting for him after the fact, taking the time to write out a narrative for him from the perspective of someone who loved him despite his shitty behavior. He wasn’t dishonest with the memories he shared, but he left out a lot. When he referenced most things I said they were out of context. I did say them in the midst of our banter back and forth, but with sarcasm or as a joke.
I was always aware of the situation between us being primarily sexual, (which I have written here in my archives, but I can’t access them from my phone so if anyone really cares you’ll have to dig in your own) but took the times he chose to “pretend” (THAT I never said, but I remember the conversation he’s thinking about. I asked him to stop talking about the end of the relationship all the time. I was happy, and wanted to focus on being happy in the moment even if it wasn’t going to last forever. I never asked him to pretend anything, just to focus on the present. Difference of perception, same conversation) and really cherished them. Too much apparently, as expressing that has confused and caused problems for just about everyone.
I just wanted to show the rest of the world what I saw in him that made him an important chapter in my narrative, instead of just a jerk who took advantage of me and can gloat about it freely while simultaneously denying the existence of any other forms of abuse in the relationship.
Kinda gave yourself away there, buddy. Plus, be mad at me after calling out your wife, sure, but what did poor Amanda do? (Aside from attack you with red glitter *ahem*) “Well I guess I could settle for Amanda, but never for you!!”
I’m not afraid of your words. I’m glad they’re finally here for everyone to see. Written down so you can’t take them back or twist them around again. It did make me look foolish for defending you, and justifying your behavior for so long, but it also validates everything negative I’ve ever had to say about you.
I never wanted you back after I met my husband. (August 2008 FYI) I just wanted to deal with my disorders. If your wife hadn’t been so obsessive about reading every thing, all the time forever, you wouldn’t have to deal with me. I’m not out to get you, trying to break up your marriage or “inserting myself into your life.” You’re putting me there yourselves by choosing to be here reading this.
It’s not showing up in your inbox (at least I hope not since I made sure to block the subscription YOU initiated) I haven’t had any direct contact with you in years, and I’ve gone out of my way to block you, change my phone number, the blog URL, privacy settings galore but you still find a way around them. That’s something you have to deal with about yourself.
I don’t know why you keep coming back, aside from the self admitted want/need to reinforce your marriage… Which is what I said in Checkmate to begin with… But you already saw that, because you only come back swinging when it’s true, and it hurts.
Good luck, John. I still love (appreciate is the better word really) you, AND I don’t want you back in my life. 101 times.