It’s BACK! Thanks to your amazing emails and tweets, I’m rebooting The Breakup Chronicles, true life tales of breakups that turned from breakdowns to breakthroughs.
The backstory: Ten years ago, I launched The Breakup Chronicles because I’d just had my heart smashed to smithereens for the umpteenth time (a.k.a. My Big Breakup). In writing about what went wrong in my relationships – as well as discovering all the things I loved about each relationship – I discovered my own relationship short comings, issues, and baggage, how I contributed to the demise of each romantic relationship, and what I could do differently next time to get a better result.
Since then, I’ve met and married the Love of My Life, written 5 books about breakups, dating, and relationships, and am on a mission to share dating tips and relationship advice for women around the world. In sharing these stories, I hope you’ll be better able to identify your own relationship issues, learn how to get out of your own way, and start magnetizing the love you desire and deserve.
Without further ado, here’s my story about my Big Breakup…
At 30 years of age, I’d never met anyone who rocked my world. Sure, I’d had relationships. Some good, some not so good, but none had ever turned me inside out, shook my core, and affected me the way Mr. Ex did. Now that all is said and done, it’s easy to see we were doomed from the beginning. But it’s also clear that we came into each other’s lives for a reason, and no amount of logic could have talked us out of the two years we took over each other’s lives.
I met Mr. Ex in the community kitchen at my new job. We introduced ourselves and chatted briefly. From then on, he always had a way of showing up just when I was making tea or grabbing lunch. At first I thought these chance encounters were just that: chance. But deep down I knew he was pseudo-stalking me. I didn’t think much of it, given that he was obviously younger than me, and we didn’t seem to have much in common. Still, he was fun to talk to, and I thought he’d be great company over a beer. Imagine my surprise when, three months later, he asked me to lunch. My initial thought was, He’s seen my ass, right? Turns out he had, and he liked what he saw.
Lunch transitioned into a surprisingly romantic dinner the following week, and a delicious makeout session in his truck the week after that. Before I could point out that our five year age difference wasn’t an issue but our difference in life experience was, we were a couple. He was new to relationships in general, had never been in love, and was still very much living the college lifestyle (without the degree) of drinking himself into oblivion and thinking bills were something you paid if you had any cash left over after treating everyone in the bar to a couple rounds.
As for me, I was watching all my friends settle down, get married, and start families of their own. And while he wasn’t anywhere near marriage material, Mr. Ex possessed a lot of endearing qualities: he was cute, funny, sweet, and totally dug me. He was everything I had always wanted in a college boyfriend, including a serious drinking problem. Trouble was, I wasn’t in college anymore.
Somehow I convinced myself that our differences were not insurmountable, and I jumped in with both feet. Despite our differences, Mr. Ex and I were good for each other in many ways. He helped me see my own beauty and worth for the first time in my life. I tried to show him what life could be like when you embraced your insecurities and learned to love life. We totally clicked on a chemical level, which not only made the sex amazing, but our intimacy ran deep. However, that chemical reaction wasn’t always positive. When things were good, there were fireworks. But when things were bad, there was nuclear fallout. When we weren’t bringing out the best in each other, we were drudging up the worst.
In all fairness, we were both at fault. His moodiness triggered my insecurities. My neurosis affected his feelings of self-worth. In between declarations of love, great sex, and fits of laughter came uncomfortable silences, major misunderstandings, and deepening drama. He was young enough to think this was normal. I was insecure enough to think this was acceptable.
We stayed together for a year, and really tried to make it work. But that’s just it. If you have to try that hard, and it’s still not working, is it worth it? Was I ignoring my need for someone more mature and further on his personal path for a good reason? Was I forcing him to be something or someone he wasn’t ready to be, or could never be?
These questions swirled in my head often during that year, a year that saw him working double overtime to placate his demanding boss without additional compensation, which not only left us with little time for each other, but what little time we did have together found him stressed, moody, and drinking behind my back. Then there were the money problems that only surfaced when his dad would call to tell me about them, but when I confronted Mr. Ex, he would shrug and say things were under control.
The truth is, any reasonably self-esteemed woman would have left long before I did. And one day I, too, grew weary of the odds stacked so terribly against us and I ended it. Only nothing in our relationship had been easy so why did I think a breakup would be? A few months after the initial breakup, we got back together. But truthfully, my heart wasn’t in it. Maybe I was being the guy in the situation, in it for the sex and companionship, all the while knowing it wasn’t right. He wasn’t ready to meet me on my level, and I was no longer interested in sinking to his. Within a few months, when his secretive financial failings once again bubbled to the surface (thanks to dear old Dad) I called it quits for good.
There’s a reason companies have policies against inter-office dating. It’s not that they discourage love and happiness, they just know that breaking up sucks, and having to see your ex on a daily basis sucks even more. But we made the best of it. First we didn’t talk at all. Then we talked all the time. Then we slept together again. And again. And again. And then, almost a year after our initial breakup, we realized we had to stop. For good. No hard feelings. And I mean it when I say no hard feelings. I accept that things didn’t work out, but I also know I had to go through this relationship, not once but twice. I had things to learn. And I’m better for having learned them. I’m a stronger, happier, more self-confident woman because Mr. Ex came into my life.
And speaking of Mr. Ex, I hear he’s getting his act together. I like to think it’s because of me but the truth is, nobody does anything they’re not ready to do for themselves. But I can at least take credit for pointing him in the general direction. And I’m thrilled for him (OK, my emotions are mixed). But one thing’s certain – we came into each other’s lives for a reason. I was there to show him the way. And he was there to love me like I’d never been loved before. And to rock my world. And even though my heart hasn’t totally healed, I’m thankful we happened. As the saying goes, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. And boy, am I smiling.
Do you have a story about YOUR Big Breakup?
Share it in the comments below or email me. And be sure to share this on social.