Breakup Remorse: Baggage Handling

It was not having sex that made me so insecure with him. I knew he liked me, was attracted to me and enjoyed my company. But I knew he was used to sleeping with his women. I knew he wanted to sleep with me too. I didn't know how to maturely deal with the situation. Our discussion about sex went as follows:

"By the way, you're not getting any from me."
"I figured as much. That was an odd way to put it."
"Well, it's not an easy thing to bring up."
"I imagine so."

Then we went back to kissing.

The insecurity and non-communication are what led to our weird confusing break up. That, and my intermittent psychotic episodes. (I wasn't hallucinating but was delusional and paranoid.) Now, I'm afraid he thinks I gave him a marriage ultimatum. Which is completely ridiculous because we weren't even officially a couple. I would be ok with his misconception if he kept it to himself. But now I think he's telling other people.

Our mutual friend let one of her smug comments slip at a dinner party last week. She likes to make private jokes that she thinks are opaque. She gets this smug grin on her face when she thinks she knows something you don't. I figured out they used to sleep together because of one of her 'private' jokes. The latest one had to do with marriage and leads me to believe he is telling people I wanted to marry him. Which makes me sick. You make one psycho phone call in the middle of the night and it screws everything up....

Here is what actually happened.

We broke up in June. In May, I hit my lowest point emotionally. They told me my cat was dying and that they wanted to fire me from my job. After the boss gave me that speech, detailing all the things I had done wrong, I needed to see my man. I needed someone to comfort me. I was a mess. So I called him and asked if I could come over, but he said 'no, he had to get up early for a bris.' I was crying on the phone but he was oblivious. I should have been more forceful but I already felt so broken. I cried all the way home from Manhattan.

The next day I called to see if we could have dinner. He couldn't because he had planned to go out drinking with his students after class. I had meant before class...but he didn't get it. I tried to explain but he was not listening again. It never occurred to him to invite me along. We'd been dating for 7 months so you'd think he wouldn't mind bringing me along to things. But he never invited me along for anything. He suggested we go to a movie tomorrow instead. The next day, after my class, I turned on my phone and found a pissy message from him. He wanted to know why I wasn't answering because we were supposed to go out. Because he didn't listen when I told him what time my class ended! Stupid jerk.

When I called back, he took an attitude with me. I defended myself but agreed to see him anyway. I was extremely fragile and still resentful about his rejection the two nights previous. On my way to Union Square I got angry about his attitude so I decided to go home instead. I texted him that I wasn't in the mood for a movie anymore. That must have made him mad. He was already waiting for me. But he didn't say anything or complain at all. Now I can see that he punished me for it. He does that, he silently punishes those who wrong him. Of course, I did the same thing by canceling without telling him why. Weren't we a passive aggressive pair?

After that I tried to see him a few more times, but he didn't have time for me, everything else was more important. I realized then I was his last priority. I could list 10 things he had chosen over me. This hurt. I was nothing more than a tryst of convenience, something to do when he had nothing else. So, I decided to stop asking him out. If he wanted to see me he had to ask me for awhile. As each day passed and he said nothing, I grew more hurt and angry. It wasn't fair. He wasn't my last priority. Stupid jerk. At this point my unstable mind created all kinds of scenarios to explain the discretion; that he was just using me to amuse himself, it had all been a game to see how far he could go with me, etc. I was losing my grip on reality.

Four weeks passed. In my mind we were already broken up and he was glad to be rid of me. I had stopped calling him too, but he still called me everyday to talk. I figured the calls were for his own personal whatever. By then it was June and one day I magically got a text saying he could come to see me next week if he was invited. I was supposed to be thrilled? Ok, for 5 minutes I was thrilled, and texted back 'you're invited'. 10 minutes later, I went crazy. I grew enraged with him for suddenly thinking I'd want to see him after all this time. For not noticing that we hadn't gone out in a month. So I texted him again, "You are uninvited. I don't have time for you either." He gave no reply. I had a screaming fit and threw things around my apartment, breaking things. My rage scared me. In the morning I sent an apology, I felt really bad about it. He made no reply. We didn't talk for a week.

But we did talk before my psycho call. It went well. I apologized for canceling and explained why I had done it. He had noticed I stopped asking him out, but he was giving me space because I was so depressed. He thought I wanted to be left alone, that if I wanted to see him I would have said something. Because I'm better at communicating than he is. That fact should have sent me screaming into the hills.

Afterwards, I remember not being able to sleep but feeling better about us. My mind raced and obsessed with our problems until I suddenly needed to talk to him. It was 1 am. I HAD TO TALK TO HIM. I needed to know if it was worth putting all this work into our relationship. Would he ever marry a non-Jew? I didn't know. I would just ask him. I wasn't getting what I needed from him now, so I wanted to know if I should keep trying. I made the call but some psycho switch had gone off in my head.

First I asked if I could come over--which was insane, it would have taken at least 2 hours to get to Brooklyn by subway at that hour. He said 'yes', obviously thinking I wanted to make a booty call(the non intercourse makeout kind.) Um, no. Realizing this I chose to talk to him over the phone instead. I said, "I need to know if there is a chance we will ever get married. Because I need to have sex someday so I need to find someone who will marry me. If that's not where this is going then I need to stop wasting my time."

OY! I cringe typing the words. I had to have been out of mind. I knew better. How those words came out instead of what I really meant, I don't know. But he said that was understable. We should talk in person about it. I knew he wasn't good on the spot so I told him to take some time to think about it. The other time I asked him about our relationship, and whether or not we were exclusive, all he could say was, "I'm not prepared to answer that question right now." After 30 minutes of me trying to get some kind of statement of commitment from him or just an admission that he had feelings for me, I got nothing. So I went on a date with someone else. That's another story. It came back to bite me on the rear. But I had learned he couldn't answer questions about his emotions until he had time to think about them first.

That's why we made plans to meet in the city. It was awful, I was so nervous. I thought he understood what I wanted but he didn't. He surprised me by saying that he thought our relationship was totally casual. That he had good reason to think so, especially since I was dating other people. "Excuse me? I only went out with that one guy because you couldn't tell me you wanted to be exclusive. And I haven't gone out with anyone else since." He asked me why not. "Because I don't want to go out with anyone else. I only want to be with you." He seemed surprised. I certainly didn't have casual feelings for him, and I wasn't taking this relationship casually. I tried to tell him what I wanted, some kind of commitment and definition to the relationship. I needed to know what I had a right to ask of him. I'm sure I didn't make myself clear.

It didn't matter anyway. He couldn't hear me. He could only hear my words from the night before...'I want to get married....' He asked me if I really wanted things to change between us. I said I needed them to, I couldn't go on this way. He said he didn't want them to change. Of course not! This relationship had been totally easy for him. He agreed that it had. He gave me nothing. I told him to think about it some more.

Then, a strange thing happened. He asked me to join him on Friday, he was having a drink with a student and her boyfriend. I got so excited. What a couple thing to do. I thought it meant he understood and wanted the same thing I did. I ignored that he said he wanted me there because he thought the boyfriend was jealous he had been spending time with his student. Had I thought more about it I would have realized a man does not invite his girlfriend in such a way. But I didn't get it, that he only wanted me there to make it less awkward for himself.

On Friday, I was having nasty anxiety and had arrived at the bar before everyone else. The bartender yelled at me for reading a paper and not ordering anything. I told him I was waiting for people. He said this wasn't a public park. That made me feel worse. When he got there I told him how badly I was feeling. He tried to comfort me and we cuddled on the couch. Until the other people arrived. Then he sat up straight and moved away from me. The couple was pleasant, and we had a nice time until they asked us if we were dating. I said, "I don't know, are we?"--with obvious venom. He said he was going to ask me the same thing. Which irked me. After that we commenced in thinly veiled bickering. We probably made the other couple very uncomfortable. Afterwards, he and I had a nice dinner together. I went home completely confused about our relationship status, and afraid for my mental health, and afraid for my dying cat, and worried about my career and not having enough money...

It was an ugly summer.

The next week I met him in midtown to help him look for new shoes. We stopped for lunch and I tried to talk to him about us. What had he decided? Looking back, I don't think either of us even understood what the question was. I said, "So what's the deal?" and he said, "I want to be a fashionista. What does one have to do to be a fashionista?" That's the kind of behavior one finds charming at first but... I knew the signs. I'd been in this type of situation before. We were breaking up. If he had good news he'd talk. I grew forlorn and didn't press him. Not until I was in line for the bus to go home.

I said, "So that's it then? We're done?" He nodded his head. "Ever since you brought up marriage it changes everything. You don't want to end up with me. You want to marry someone like you. You're going to hate me in 6 months anyway." I tried to explain that I wasn't asking him to marry me but he wasn't listening. It was so humiliating, to be dumped in public like that. I did everything I could to keep from crying in front of him. Instead, I cried myself home again. Here's the post I wrote afterwards.

Why did I want him anyway? Why should I feel any remorse over him? True, he sounds like a grade-A monkey's arse. Which he was indeed, but he was more than that too. He was affectionate and sweet, funny, easy to talk to and so patient with me. Sexilicious too, our chemistry was atomic. It was so easy to be with him--when we were actually together, it felt so natural. No one else made me feel so calm and safe. His ordered mind gave my crazed one a rest. It felt so good to be with him that I hated being away from him. Because when he wasn't there I was left on my own in the crazed hurricane of my psyche. Without any promises that he'd come back. A dangerous place to be, making me too needy.

Which is why I needed the relationship as it was to end. It had caused me incredible torment, at a time when I didn't have the emotional stability to deal with it. However, I wish things hadn't ended in such a confused way. Obviously, part of me wanted to get out. I said the 'M'-word! What a major, unbelievably self-sabotaging mistake! What I really wanted to say, I was too afraid to utter. Too afraid to ask him to make me a priority in his life, to afraid he'd say 'no'. So instead I made sure he'd say 'no' by using the worst words possible, the only words in the English language guaranteed to run off a man. Brilliant.

So many things were wrong with us. With me. It still makes me sad now to think that it ended with such a misunderstanding. Sad that I could be so insecure because of sex. Frightened by how insane I was. Wishing I had the skills to say what I needed and wanted. Scared to try again with someone else. My heart was smushed. This makes me think I can't date non-celibate men. Not until I have the chops to know that I am worthwhile even when I don't put out. It leaves me feeling hollow. And more than annoyed that he's telling people I gave him a marriage ultimatum. At least you, my dear readers, will know the truth. I was crazy, but not so insane to do that!