A few days ago, my boyfriend broke up with me via text message. At 28, I couldn’t fathom that people still did that, but there it was on my phone.
A day earlier, I had found out that after six months of dating and nearly two months of being “official,” he had been messaging and sleeping with his ex for nearly the entirety of our relationship.
He apologized. Held me. Comforted me. Made excuses. Wiped my tears. Even went to fucking brunch.
And after tears, mimosas, and heartbroken drunken sex, he sent me the “It’s not working out” text.
I want to say that this all came out of left field. That the man that I was falling in love with showed no signs of deceit. But I would be lying. There weren’t clear red flags, more like consistent nudges that I mistook for me being “crazy” or damaged.
In this day and age, women are taught to not push a guy into a relationship. To take it slow. To not expose when they are upset until you have him hooked. Well, fuck that.
I spent an entire summer wondering why he wouldn’t commit to me, only to find out it was because he was in love with someone 10 years his senior with a history for stringing him along. Two days before we became “official,” he sent her a text stating “I will give you two months to figure out everything that is confusing you. Know that I love you and want to be with you.”
The next 8 weeks were full of me doubting every aspect of myself. Wondering why I didn’t feel like we were a couple. Why he didn’t hold my hand. Why he never took pictures with me. Why he ignored my birthday. Why he never kissed me in public. I blamed myself for giving off an “unavailable” vibe and told him I was sorry. We had a “talk” about MY wall and emotional unavailability and I made a promise to open up to him.
Things got better for 2 days. And then I saw the texts.
She came back to him on Thanksgiving, stating that she loved him and wanted to meet up. Instead of the appropriate response of “I have a girlfriend. The offer is off the table.” He replied, “When are you free to meet up?” The day after Thanksgiving, he put his phone on “Do Not Disturb,” something he never does in the middle of the day. A girl’s name popped up a few times but he refused to answer it. I questioned it and he made an excuse that it was an old friend asking about his family.
But I looked anyway. And I stopped feeling. Every single thing that had occurred between us was based on lies. I couldn’t even cry right away. I woke him up at 2 am and hoping that there was some reasonable explanation. He lied of course, stating that he was no longer in love with her and that he wanted to be with me. That he knew there was no future for the two of them and she was too late. The entire next day, he did everything to comfort me.
I convinced myself that he was telling the truth and that we were going to be ok. How he could possibly be lying to me again? He obviously made a mistake. Things would be fine.
It was only after I went back to my apartment that everything set in.
His deceit. His motive. His intentional disregard for my feelings. I sent him a text asking all the same questions that he had explained poorly the day before and tagged him in a photo on Facebook as my boyfriend.
Within an hour, I received the break up text and was blown away. I insisted he call me later and at 10:45 at night, I was on the receiving end of one of the coldest conversations of my life. With no emotion in his voice, he stated that he no longer saw a future for us and told me I should move on. When I asked him if he had spoken to her, I heard the disdain in his voice. “Yes. She said ‘Looks like you have a girlfriend. Good luck.'”
I realized then that he had gone into damage control. He couldn’t risk losing her again. A screen shot of a breakup text to me was all he needed to prove to her his loyalty and love. In a matter of seconds, everything I had done for him over the past 6 months didn’t matter. The fact that he let me enter his life, meet his family, love his friends… it all meant nothing. I was just there to make him feel good. To be the pretty blonde on his arm, easily disposable when the holidays rolled around. He never had any intention of us staying together.
Something may have ignited in him the moment he saw himself hurting me the way he had been hurt. That might have been the only time I ever felt on the receiving end of his affection. But the minute she dangled the carrot in front of him again, I was dismissed. Regardless of the tears that I shed and the promises that he made, he still wanted her.
Be careful with hearts. You can’t delete the memories from them as easily.