Thursday, October 4, 2012

Out of Order

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am."
-Sylvia Plath

Nineteen months. 

It has been over nineteen months since the angry ex and I broke up.  Ninteen months since the end of the most unhealthy relationship I've ever had crumbled into a pile of rubble.  Nineteen months of time where I thought I'd been healing, rising from the ashes of the emotional destruction he wrought upon me.  Nineteen months of being wrong.

My marriage ended in divorce before we hit the seven year mark.  We were together nearly 11 years.  The unraveling of that relationship hurt deeply, but the aftershocks of it's implosion were different.  It was about learning to be on my own for the first time in my life.  It was about finding who I was as an individual.  It was about everything I knew coming apart at the seams.  It sparked a self-revolution, but it was a relatively quiet one.  A slow journey of discovery.

With M, the relationship after my divorce, that break up was just a matter of two people getting involved at highly emotionally volatile times in their lives, and the unsurprising clashes that caused.  The end of that relationship didn't make me question who I was.  It didn't cause some revelation about my own self-worth, or a crazy need to reinvent myself.  It just ended because it was supposed to.

My relationship with the angry ex was toxic.  Pure poison.  Sure, there were good times, but from the very beginning there was an insidious undercurrent that fostered insecurity in me like I'd never felt in my life, and I'd had many times of insecurity.  I was never enough.  I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't political enough, I wasn't brave enough, bold enough, thin enough, sexy enough.  I was perpetually inadequate in his eyes, and subsequently in my own.  I gave into defeat and didn't have the energy or strength to pull myself out. 

He walked all over my heart for almost two years, he mindfucked me, he took advantage of my kindness and devotion, and in the end he screwed me over...but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  When the angry ex pushed me out of his life, first out of his home and then out of his heart, it was the kindest thing he'd ever done for me, even if he didn't know that.  Even if he never would have done it if he'd known that.

I've been trying to date off and on for 17 months or so.  I dated Artboy for a brief window in time.  I dated Baltimore for a couple of months.  I've had 3 date dalliances here and there, plus countless one off dates.  I've kissed people I wanted to kiss, and I've kissed people I didn't want to kiss because they caught me off guard.  I've made an inordinate amount of mistakes.  I've experienced huge, repeated errors in judgment.  I've acted impulsively and paid for it later.  I've let myself be taken advantage of emotionally, and I've sold myself so short, denied myself the self-respect I should possess, and spent too much time rationalizing bad behavior with unworthy people.

My heart isn't ready to date.  Sometimes I think I am, so I go through the motions.  It's easy to do when I am just racking up the silly stories and the funny anecdotes.  It's entertaining, it's a hobby, it's something to do.  But the second I meet someone who should be a real candidate, someone smart, well-spoken, sincere, successful, kind, attractive....I get turned off.  I want to run in the opposite direction, and you all know how I feel about running.

I went on a date last night with someone like this.  Had a good time.  Laughed.  Talked.  Flirted.  There was an attraction.  He gave me an innocent kiss goodnight after being very direct about liking me and wanting to see me again.  I got in my car and had to resist the urge to go tearing out of the parking lot, as far away as quickly as possible from him and the scene of the crime.

My heart is out of order.  It is not in working condition for dating.  I am tired of the bad dates, but I'm more worn out by the good ones, and the subsequent guilt I feel over slowly disengaging from them.  I'm tired of feeling like I want to throw up after "good" dates, of feeling waves of panic wash up about losing myself, about investing time and energy into something that may not work out, or that may hurt me.  I'm tired of wondering how I will not be enough this time, of wondering if my inclination about a temper or a personality is based on something real or if it's just my own angry ex baggage rearing its ugly head again.

Bottom line is I do not trust myself at all.  I don't trust my judgment.  I don't trust my taste.  I don't trust my heart.

I can't do this anymore.  I can't keep chasing something so hard that I'm apparently not even ready for.  I have to stop trying so hard, I have to stop pretending I'm that girl who wants a relationship.  I want the abstractions of a relationship.  The moments.  I want someone to cuddle with on the couch for a movie.  Someone to run an errand with.  Someone to text me something nice once in a blue moon.  But I want that someone to leave when I want them to leave.  To be okay with me needing a week of time to recover from spending two hours in close quarters.  Someone who magically knows when I want to hear from them and magically knows when I don't, and never crosses the line. 

I need space from this.  I need to let the pressure go.  I need to stop trying so hard.  I need to recognize the reality that I am just not ready.

Nineteen months is a long time.  It sounds like a long time.  It sounds like more than enough time to get over an asshole who was never really worthy of me in the first place, who hurt me so deeply and truly that I feel like I have an angry ex-shaped scar on my heart.  However, appearances can be deceiving.  Time can lie.  We can even lie to ourselves.  Eventually, though, the truth comes through, and I have to own my truth.  I have to know that it's okay that I'm not ready yet.  I need to allow myself to heal on my own time, and not punish myself for going off schedule.  For not being where I think I should be.  For not being able to unshoulder all of this just yet.

I don't think I'm irretrievably broken.  I'm just out of order. 

Dating profiles deleted.  Not hidden.  Not deactivated.  Deleted.  Now is not the right time.


  1. You are NOT broken. Good for you for figuring this out and again, it's totally fine you're not ready to date. I remember when I tried online dating, albeit very very briefly, and I found a really great guy and went out on one date with him and RAN. I never returned his calls, texts, emails - nothing. I felt relieved to just go back to my single life, where it felt safe for me, and to just say I at least "tried" and it was years before I felt safe coming out of that. For me, it was really clear when I felt like I was in a good spot to even consider letting someone back in. I was fine after I ended my 5 year relationship, but the guy who "mindfucked me" I only dated 2 years and it really and I mean really messed with my head and for a long time. Unfortunately, I think it takes one really toxic relationship to figure out what you want and don't want, not just out of relationships, but out of life as well. Hugs. I know this feeling so well and you will get there. Focus on yourself and healing and the rest will come.

    1. I hope you're right that when I'm ready I'll know. I'm just exhausted of questioning my own instincts, you know?

      I need to just steer clear of well meaning family and friends who feel like I should be ready to date by now, and who worry that I'm getting too old, or this and that. I'm no good to anyone if I can't be okay taking care of me and being sure I'm ready for ANYTHING.

  2. The toxic relationship mind fucks us all, but eventually you'll be able to let go of all the baggage and really learn to trust yourself and your gut instincts again. I think its good that you've made a permanent change in deleting profiles, not deactivating them. Work on yourself and not adding someone else in the mix.

    1. I surely hope so. It just seems so unfair that I'm still carrying all of this garbage around that HE put on me, you know?

      As far as the rest, yeah, I think it's something I need to do. I miss the attention already, I'll selfishly admit that, but it wasn't getting me anywhere, and it was just stressing me out. Time for a break for sure.

  3. Hun I am so glad you came to this realization. It's ok to not be ready and I can imagine how all those rude guys and bad dates can add up. You know what you want and you will find it when the time is right. Like Ames said, focus on yourself for a while because you're doing AWESOME things. We're all here for you in our little long-distance style support group ;)

    1. I hope you are right. I am trying to focus on me, but I'm telling you sometimes it's hard. I can work out all the damn time, but in the end that's not keeping me warm at night, LOL. But in all seriousness, you're right. It's good to really just sincerely focus on taking care of me, physically, emotionally, mentally.

      I love my long distance support group! It means a TON to me, honestly.

    2. I know what you mean, I've been single for almost 3 years but then I don't even try to meet new people or date anymore. It's like I"m so focused on work and trying to not be a walking ball of stress that there's not much room for anything else. But now that I've started therapy (woo hoo) I can hopefully get things back on track sooner rather than later.

  4. Good for you, Bluemoon! It's perfectly ok to take time for yourself and heel - it doesn't matter if you take days, months, or years. I've had so many times when people say "It's been X months, move on!"

    But the only person who can determine whether you're ready to open your heart is YOU. Do what's best for you.