Sitting on the couch a few weeks ago with my soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, I asked the dreaded question. Yes “The Question’ and I asked because I already knew the answer.
We were just sitting around, getting ready to go out to dinner. The question had been on my mind for a few weeks. We had been going out for over 6 months and since both of us are in our 50’s, it was time to stop circling and bring this in for a landing. It was either going to be a smooth landing or a crash landing, but a landing was going to occur.
“I have a question for you,” I asked and I heard him stop breathing.
No response as he stared straight ahead.
I waited a few seconds. “Do you love me?”
It was my turn to hold my breath.
“I care about you.” The first stab of the knife in my heart.
“That’s great. But do you love me?” I did know that this question had just been answered but I was not going to leave this conversation without full disclosure.
“There are many things I love about you.” Nice try I thought.
“Of course you do. How could you not? But do you love me?”
“That’s because you are a frickin idiot.”
Those were the last words of truth that I spoke to him. After that, the lying started.
His eyebrows shot up and I held my gaze.
“Well, you sound a bit bitter.” Yeah, he actually said that.
“No, not bitter. Just blunt. Well, OK, I appreciate your honesty.” (Translation – “You really are stupid, aren’t you?”)
“Have I hurt your feelings?” he asked with genuine concern in his voice.
“No, not at all. I understand.” (Of course you hurt my feelings, you idiot. You just slammed dunked the ultimate rejection.”)
He sighs and leans over to put his arm around my shoulders. I lean back and get up off the couch. I suddenly need to refill my wine glass. For the first time ever, I don’t ask him if he wants anymore. All I know is that I have to get up and walk away and collect my thoughts.
But I already know what my thoughts are and I already know what I am going to do, so I say it.
“Hey, I’m starving and we were going to go out to dinner, so let’s do that.” (I’ll be damned if I’m going to show you how hurt I am.”)
He gets up off the couch, a bit uncertain and cautious. This isn’t going like he thought it would go. My plan is working.
So off to dinner we go and I am chatty and happy and being my usually goofy and silly self. Inside I feel my heart getting closer and closer to my feet. I force myself to eat but it’s hard because I left my appetite on the couch.
He keeps trying to figure out what’s going on and I just keep wondering how someone could be so stupid. I knew we hadn’t been on the same page for a while, but I had hoped that he would eventually catch up with me.
I guess not.
We finish dinner and go back to my house.
Here comes the landing.
“Thank you for dinner. I appreciate it.” (It’s time for you to go because I’m about to tear you a new one.”)
“Are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine but this isn’t going to work for me.” (“Step away from me NOW!”)
“I’m sorry. I just have all my attention on dealing with the crap I have to deal with and that’s all I can think of.”
Now he’s twisting the knife and has no idea.
“I’m sorry I called you an idiot.” (No I’m not but I’m trying to have some semblance of class here. Actually, it felt great to say that.”)
He smiles and I smile back. (“Yes, come a little closer…”)
“I understand. I think you should just concentrate on the things you need to. I guess I’m just not that important to you right now. Either its bad timing or I’m not the one for you. I wish you the best and I really enjoyed our time together.” (You are so stupid that I just can’t stand it. How could you let someone like me go? Huh? How could you? I hope your life is miserable without me. I hope you wake-up in the middle of the night, every night, unable to sleep because you miss me so much. I hope you come back just so I can turn YOU down.”)
We chat for a few and I open the front door for him. He had planned on staying over and had driven a long time to see me. That is something I always liked about him. He would go way out of his way to come see me.
He gets a confused look on his face and then it dawns on him that I just broke up with him. I give him a hug and gently kiss him on the cheek as I put my hand on the small of his back and escort him out of my house.
I soon feel a great sadness sweep over me at the same time a sense of pride rises. The next day, I have a really good cry and mourn the loss of my friend and allow myself to cry really hard.
I didn’t grieve for my loss. I grieved for his.
If you know who you are and what you want, you won’t get lost. Just as importantly is to know who you are not and what you don’t want.
If someone doesn’t love you, there’s nothing you can do about it, so don’t try. Cut your losses, admit defeat and chalk it up to a learning experience.
And the next time, don’t waste your time on people who don’t know your value.