The inevitable returning of things when a breakup takes place. Does anyone really want their ‘stuff’ back after a breakup? It is just stuff; it’s not really worth much. The awkward exchanging of items is typically uncomfortable and unenjoyable for all parties involved, right? At the same time it does allow a little bit of closure: a short meeting to say your goodbyes, to wish the other well, to have a heartfelt moment. It’s cathartic.
My ex and I exchanged our things a long time ago. There was no meaningful exchange, as these items were left on each others porches. There was no closure to be had in this respect. We fumbled and found our way back to each other – or should I say we found our way to each other, as no one ever really left. Instead of figuring out our problems, we slapped a sex shaped bandaid over the gaping wound of our problems as a couple. We never talked about how to work things out, what we could do differently, how we could equally commit to each other. My ex and I just did the same thing over and again, with increasingly more horrific results. What changed was my patience and threshold for his bullshit. I steadfastly felt that we could not work on things while he continued to actively date other women. He felt that he was not a person who could ever feel comfortable with monogamy, and I fought him about this. There was never a chance, never time, never a safe space for us to work through anything together. That’s the whole point, I suppose: He didn’t want to work on anything; he wanted to do what he wanted to do, and expected me to shut up and deal with what he was handing out – which was scraps. I became less tolerant and filled with animosity, he became more distant and cold. What I believed to be so beautiful and good, maybe never was either of those things. If it was ever beautiful or good, we certainly did a good job of destroying it.
My ex telling me that he’s seeing someone is hurtful. Point blank, it sucks. No one enjoys the feeling of being replaced. What really kills me is that he told me that we can no longer spend time together or talk to one another, because he doesn’t want to make the same mistakes with this new woman; he doesn’t want to doom this new relationship from the start, like he did with me. That is actually the most hurtful thing of all. Well, it comes a close second to his abject frigidness about the whole situation, where he is unable to say a nice thing to me, and instead responds to my hurt by saying things such as, “I’m sorry this is difficult for you,” “That was in the past, I hope you make your peace with it,” “I don’t owe you an explanation,” “Who knows what will happen! I just don’t want to make the same mistakes.” Being replaced feels awful, but being dismissed feels worse. Being treated as a leper by a person you love is something I wish on no one.
Circling back around here, I’ve asked him to return a photo of the two of us that hangs (or used to hang) in his house, along with a book that I had made for him. My reason being that those things will end up in the trash, as no woman is going to be comfortable with them being in her boyfriend’s home. While he is moving on, I’m not in a place where I no longer care, or where I want to see memories of ours in the trash. I’d like to have them back. He refuses to return them to me. I’ve explained that they are symbolic and important to me, but he still refuses. The refusal is like salt in the wound.