For at least three months now I’ve been adamantly, uncontrollably, inexorably dreading today, my birthday. I’m hitting a milestone age, and I haven’t accomplished most of the major things that my high school self expected me to have done by now…including the relationship status. Amongst other things, high school me thought that I would be three years into a happy marriage by now. Instead, I’m three years into single-dom and approaching another decade of life as a single (though still fly) woman with no prospects.
Though we’ve been broken up for almost three years and I haven’t spoken to him in about two and a half years, I am missing my ex-boyfriend. I miss the reciprocity of a loving relationship, and thus I miss him…because that’s the last time I had the relationship security that I enjoy having in my life (or at least at this point, three years out, I have fond memories of it).
When we first broke up, I blamed my ex for the fact that we were no longer together. After all, he was the one who uttered the words that solidified the break up. In a moment of brutal honesty with myself, aided by India.Arie singing “These Eyes” in the background, I realized that I blamed him for the break up mostly because I felt blindsided by his emotions. We broke up two weeks after my birthday in 2008, and one week after I got a ‘happy belated birthday’ card in the mail from him. Below the printed text in the card he’d written “Sorry it’s late, but I plan to spend so many more birthdays with you that it doesn’t matter. I love you!” I was flattered by his written words one week and floored by his spoken words the next. We were on the phone, having our millionth argument about the same thing–the fact that I’d decided to move to another state 10 months earlier–and at the height of his frustration, he told me that our relationship was over.
I was hurt that he made that decision for both of us. In hindsight, though, I understand that he was hurt by the decision I made for both of us (the decision to live in cities that are a 13 hour drive apart). And if I’m really, really truthful, I also understand that I’m responsible for planting the spoken seeds of doubt in our relationship. I suggested a break up two months before he made it a reality. The fact that he was so against my suggestion is the reason why the finality of his words hit me so hard when our relationship actually ended. At that time, I couldn’t understand how “I plan to spend to spend so many more birthdays with you” turned into “it’s over” in just 7 days. Truth is…I still have trouble grasping that concept. When I did have an opportunity to ask him how his feelings changed so drastically so quickly, he told me, “I was tired.” While he was apparently walking away from our relationship tired, I walked away bitter.
That bitterness has kept me guarded and single for three years. At this point, I’m tired of being single, I’m tired of holding on to the remnants of hurt and anger that I attribute to my last relationship, I’m tired of wishing that I was as in love with my life right now as all of my newlywed and new mommy friends are with their lives, and I’m ready to move into this new decade serious about shedding the identity that prompted me to start this blog in the first place. In the words of my always positive and upbeat college advisor, onward and upward!