Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little comforts

I’ve been thinking a lot about exes lately.

And don’t tell me you haven’t. I’m not interested in that. Really, can’t we please, for just a moment, admit, all together, that it’s weird, so very weird, to have exes in the universe? I don’t want to pretend that I’ve moved on—which I have, in a sense. I’m not stopped, I’m not waiting, or weeping. I’m just thinking.

Isn’t it strange that there are people in the world that you used to lay next to every night (if you’re a cohabitating type of serial monogamist, at least), who now have these lives that don’t involve you? They have wives and girlfriends and fiancés and children, and you have new loves, and you live somewhere else, and why does that have to mean you can’t still call his mother? Why does that have to mean that you’re a stalker if you want to see a photo of his new family?

One reason I’ve been thinking is because I’ve been hearing a lot from an ex who was an item so long ago I hesitate to think of him as more than a very old friend. I was visiting home not long ago, and he randomly called. He didn’t even know I was in town, but he instantly started pushing to see me. I agreed to dinner at his intense insistence—he hinted at some sort of trauma. He promised he’d be pathetic, and offered to buy.

We got in the car, and I said, “So. What was all that? What’s up with you?”

“Right,” he said. “So, my wife left me.”

Of course she did. Although there was one point in my life that I’d considered him my backup plan, my safety, in case my life didn’t go the way it expected, I gave up that plan about four years ago when he told me he was having a baby. Since then, I’d been firmly in the camp that supported his relationship, and I’d even been charmed by his wife – and while we’re being honest, I’ll just put it out there. I’m prettier than his wife.

“Oh, buddy,” I said. “That sucks.”

“For her teacher,” he said.

“Yikes,” I said.

“Who is a lady,” he said.

“Oh, fuck.”

At dinner, he told me the whole sordid story. It’s pretty fucking tragic.

He knew our server, it was why he’d picked this particular restaurant. When the server walked away, my friend confessed, “he doesn’t know yet.”

This break had been sudden, and the whole thing had only gone down about three weeks prior. My friend described to me how he understood depression for the first time in his life.

“I wake up in the morning, and I can’t think of a reason to get out of bed. And even when I can, I just can’t think of how in the world I’m going to make myself do it.”

I hugged him, and got a little drunk with him, and said what little, weak things you can say to comfort a friend whose family has just been torn apart. Mostly I listened to him. And when our server asked what the wife and kid were up to, he got the bad news. When our bill arrived, I think it was $5.

“I’ve been getting a lot of free meals lately,” he confessed.

What little things we can do to comfort a friend.

Later, after I’d left town again, he texted me, saying he wished he’d been able to spend more time with me when I was in town.
“I have a lot of friends here, but none like you,” he said.

I’m not sure what he meant by that. In a literal sense, he doesn’t have any other friends who took his virginity. In another sense, he probably doesn’t have any other friends who have considered making a life with him. I’ve thought about what our kids would look like. I’ve considered whether I would take his last name.

But he probably didn’t mean any of those things.

9 comments:

k-dawg said...

Sorry about your pal. Divorce sucks and breakups are nothing short of awful.

On a totally different note, I actually laughed out loud at "Why does that have to mean that you’re a stalker if you want to see a photo of his new family?". I wonder that all the time. I maintain that it's not stalking if it can be considered public knowledge, aka, if you put it on Facebook, it's fair game. That's why they invented privacy settings anyway.

Darren Miller said...

This is a confusing and emotional time, I guess for both of you.

It's interesting when you mentioned about our exes are laying in bed and going about their business.

I say that because it human nature to want to know how other people are doing in their life. I have been broken up with my ex for about 7 years now, and I'm guilty of peering on how she is doing.

I don't want to get back with her but I want to make sure she is doing ok, I guess - much to my girlfriend's annoyance. It's also important to remember to keep it at arm’s length and nothing more.

Your ex is feeling very unwanted and unloved, that is why he has turned to you for that attention.

One thing I'm sure we can all agree on is feelings can spiral out of control when we least expect it, so the best advice is to be aware.

simplysolo said...

"Isn’t it strange that there are people in the world that you used to lay next to every night (if you’re a cohabitating type of serial monogamist, at least), who now have these lives that don’t involve you? They have wives and girlfriends and fiancés and children, and you have new loves, and you live somewhere else, and why does that have to mean you can’t still call his mother? Why does that have to mean that you’re a stalker if you want to see a photo of his new family?"
I have no idea how you did it, but this paragraph is almost exactly what I've been thinking lately. I've really been struggling with this in regards to my ex fiance. I just have this hard time knowing he's living this life, totaly without me, and that the 7 years we spent getting to know each other, each other's families, etc. were all a waste. I was to reach out to his mom, I want to see what his new life looks like. Not in a stalkery way, but just to hold on to some kind of connection to him. So I can't pretend those 7 years didn't exist.

Great post.

Tips on how to get the perfect man said...

Like the others said this is a very difficult time but there's no harm in having a little harmless fun. And being there for them when they need you the most. You never know what may comes out of this. Everything happens for a reason is my motto.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Damn, this was a fine post. The ex thing weirds me out exponentially, too. Though mostly because I don't feel any weirdness toward ANY of my exes. There's a reason we're not still together, right? This one was too non-committal, this one was too married, this one was too weak. I can see them and be totally normal, but most of them can't even e-mail me without coming across as desperate to be with me or hoping to spite me. Let's just all be friends! So are you going to do this guy or what? Remind me to IM you tomorrow.

Serial Monogamist said...

Man, did I make it sound like I would even consider doing this guy?
A) Hello, emotional mess.
B) My boyfriend is so awesome I can't imagine even consider doing anything like that.
C) It might turn me into a lesbian.

Beautiful but Grumpy said...

This is a first time I've come across your blog. Good writing and it made me laugh.

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There is not a single reason for breakups,because no one perfect in this universe....

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