Earlier in January, I ended a year and a half long relationship with the man I initially thought was my soulmate.
There is a quotation by the inspirational Maya Angelou that comes to mind as I write this. It goes: "When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
Perhaps that's what I should have done.
But perhaps I was blinded by love, as usual. Or just saw and accepted his flaws and continued to love him. I try to see the best in others and always give them the benefit of the doubt. But this can be done to a fault, and cause you to get taken advantage of.
Alas, yet another failed romance to add to my collection. </3
(Uh, you think I'm kidding, huh? Nah, for real though, I have a PowerPoint presentation on my laptop titled "Hopeless Romances; The Many Failed Relationships of Sky Lea Ross." This one is just the longest lasting and most recent! *shaking my head, rolling my eyes*)
I'll cut to the chase, and get to the story.
We had been having problems since October.
I currently reside in a transitional housing program for former foster youth. My lease is a year and a half long. All of 2016, my ex and I were planning to move in together, preferably by December or January the latest. I had been DREAMING about it, so eager to start my life with him. Fantasizing about it every night. It gave me something to look forward to. (Though I have a roof over my head, let's just say my living conditions are not the most favorable.)
But then comes October, when we're mindlessly cuddling naked in bed, and he turns to me and says, "You know, I've realized that moving in together is optional, not mandatory."
My jaw drops. To my complete surprise and utter shock, I respond with "What do you mean?"
He explains that he had discussed moving in with me with his best friend, was having second thoughts about it, and received the validation he needed for his concerns.
So I told him he better think it through and reach a decision, because my future was dependent upon his choice.
At the time, I had no other family or friends to move in with. I had no outside financial support. I was trying to find a decent one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena, and everything was waaaaay out of my price range. So it was hopeless.
He thinks it over, and within a couple days, I get my answer. (Nope, not the one I was looking for.)
He tells me that the answer is "No." He's changed his mind and no longer wishes to move in with me.
He had 3 primary reasons:
1) Finances - He was in the process of completing his undergraduate degree in Psychology. He had worked a dead-end museum job for the past 4 years and was ready to use his education to find something new and promising. Plus, he was continuing to pay off his car payments, which would have been done June of this year. He thought that moving in with me would be too much of a financial burden.
2) Family - He admitted to me that if he were to move out, he would most likely cut off all contact with his parents. This is not something he wanted to do, out of guilt for one, but also because they promised to pay for his graduate schooling, So he wanted to stay on good terms with them and didn't know how moving in with me would affect their relationship.
3) Comfort and Familiarity - He had been living in his current house for over 10 years. Hadn't moved since. Had never fully been on his own, completely independent from family support. This was something he was anxious to give up.
I was hurt and brokenhearted. He had just ripped apart and crushed the dream that I was living off of for almost the entire year. But despite that, I wanted to move on and accept his reasons with respect and humility.
We had a very difficult conversation about this. At one point, he stood up and said he was going to walk out and never come back again. All because I had asked for some space.
He misinterpreted my request. I was feeling numb and void of love for him, but when he made that proclamation, all of my love came rushing back, and I begged him not to go. I was hurt, devastated, and upset, but I didn't want to lose him over this!
So we tried to work things out the best we could. Got into an even deeper dialogue about our personality types and behavior patterns. I thought we learned a lot about each other and were stronger because of it.
Fast forward to January.
He had officially graduated with his Bachelor's in Psychology in December. He applied for a Behavioral Specialist job and got it within a couple of weeks. He put it his 2 week notice to his employers at the museum and was now making $15 an hour. His grandmother was transferred into assisted living, and so his parents sold her house. With the money, they were able to pay off all of his car payments, completely. Now, it's no longer an expense he has to worry about. Plus, his parents are so proud of him for applying to graduate programs, unlike his brother who lacks ambition and is irresponsible with his finances.
His life seemed to be looking up.
But mine seemed to be only getting harder.
My dear good friend, Marigold, who I've known for 10 years now, was willing and ready to move in with me. So I took to the internet to look at apartment listings. We would share a one-bedroom, she would pay more for the room, and I would convert the living room into my own space. It sounded super undesirable, but it was all we could afford.
I started browsing through the listings and was only able to find more disappointment. I became stressed out and overwhelmed.
My ex stopped by to pick me up from work that day. It was his 3rd day on the new job and he had some difficulty finding parking. This minor stressor made him want to come see me and relax. But he didn't get what he was expecting.
I was emotionally triggered. Looking through all of the unaffordable apartment listings was jarring. It reminded me of how devastated I was when he decided not to move in with me.
I wouldn't have been in that situation if it weren't for him. You see, there is a difference in privilege. He has financial support from family. I have none.
To me, he WAS my family. And he bailed on me.
I apologized to him for being in such an awful mood. But I was seriously desperate to find a place, and it looked like it wasn't going to happen. (BTW, it still hasn't happened. But that's another story.)
I told him that I still had A LOT of resentment towards him for changing his mind, especially so late into the year. But I was processing this in Therapy, trying to get over it and mend the broken parts of our relationship back together.
We talked it through, he wasn't very happy, but I was to get everything off of my chest.
We cuddled and spooned later that night. I thought we were on good terms.
But he brought it up again later that week, the next time I saw him.
He told me that seeing me like that after his stressful day at work made him feel "attacked" and was so "unbearable" for him, that it reminded him of dealing with his father's alcoholic episodes.
I was outraged to hear this. I never meant to make him feel any of that, but I am not his father. I am not an alcoholic who turns into a monster, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I was simply upset, feeling completely alone in the apartment hunting process without his help, and I wouldn't have been in that situation if it weren't for him changing his mind, so last minute too.
Like I explained, his worries with "Finances" and "Family" were no longer a problem. The only thing preventing him from moving in with me now was "Comfort and Familiarity." (in his own words)
The thing is, if he were to move in with me, he would live with me rent free for 6 months. (My housing program would be paying half of my rent for that time, and I would be paying off the other half myself. I wouldn't expect any help from him unless he was willing and able to pitch in. That was going to be his time to adapt and become comfortable with his new job and his new environment. I had this all thought out.)
I wanted to create a sanctuary for us, where we could make our own "Comfort and Familiarity," with each other. He wouldn't have to live with his alcoholic father, cynical mother, or idiotic brother anymore. He could live with me instead, and I would do anything in my power to make him happy and feel at home.(and I MEAN that) It would be our home. It would be my first home, as I've never had a place I've ever really considered home before. (Except all of SoCal, Pasadena, and UCLA, I've never had an actual living space that I could call home.)
After this secondary discussion, I grew soooo angry. He was basically hurt by me for being hurt by him! I was the one he let down. And yet, he was upset with me for being upset with him! (Oh, the irony!)
Whenever my ex did or said something to hurt my feelings, I had to ask for an apology. He never once offered it automatically. (at least that's the way it seemed. Forgive me if my memory fails me. I am not a perfect being.)
After he decided not to move in with me, I didn't see much remorse from him, though when I asked, he did apologize. Though it never felt genuine. It was brief and straight to the point. Never heartfelt.
And now I was distressed trying to find an apartment with a friend, it looking so unlikely, and all I wanted was support from him, but he couldn't give it to me.
That was another issue. The lack of support. For him, I believe it was a chore to support me. Emotionally and Physically.
So I called my bestie Jennifer and told her how angry and frustrated I was with him. How could he be so mad at me when he's the one who hurt ME!? It wasn't fair.
So I declared that I would tell him the next day how angry I was. I sent him a polite text to warn him first, so he wouldn't be caught off guard like the last time.
It was Sunday night, I had woken up at 3:30pm, taken a shower to get ready for him, and saw him as he got off work. We spent the entire time talking. From 5:50pm-10:33pm. I didn't even get the chance to eat a meal.
The first 20-30 mins of our discussion were just me venting how angry I was at him for all of the above mentioned reasons. But I ended my rant with telling him how much I loved him, how much this relationship meant to me, and how I wanted to do everything in my power to work on our relationship. The response I got from him was completely unwarranted.
I expressed that perhaps we had unrealistic expectations of each other, and perhaps we could fix this. He just got even angrier, folded his arms, and like a pre-teen, exclaimed, "I'm angry! This relationship sucks!"
I said, "is it really the entire relationship that sucks? Or just these problems we've been having? Because we've been happy for quite some time."
I was desperate to repair our relationship. I suggested couples therapy. He rejected it.
I found this heavily ironic and hypocritical, considering the fact that he wanted his mother to get help, and she refused, which really hurt him. So why would he refuse the opportunity to get help with me that could potentially salvage our relationship? (Especially when he's going to school to become a therapist, just like I am.)
For the next remaining hours, he simply sat on my bed, very hot headed, and as I persistently asked what to do to make things better, he would only reply with an "I don't know."
I pleaded, I asked him over and over again if there was anything I could do to make him feel better and to save our relationship. I only kept getting the same "I don't know" from him.
Until I didn't.
He finally said, "You know what, I do know. I know that I can make myself happy."
Perplexed, I asked him to explain. He said that though he is more mechanical and logical, he is also philosophical. And to him, this meant that he believed happiness was meant to be pursued alone.
I told him that I am philosophical too, I've read literature on the pursuit of love and happiness (Can I get a Don Miguel Ruiz anyone?) I know, too, that happiness is something we create by ourselves. But the most happiness we can have is when we share ours with others. I told him that yes, I wanted us to pursue our happiness individually and independently, but come together and share it with one another.
He replied by telling me that "this relationship was impeding and threatening" his "happiness."
I was shocked and confused. I didn't understand. I asked him for clarification.
He said that this relationship, in comparison with his last ones (including one where a girl physically abused him, one where a girl was a drug addict, and one where a girl was super demanding and gendered and expected him to pay for everything) caused him more pain.
This hurt me so much to hear. I have NEVER done anything to intentionally, deliberately, or purposely hurt him EVER! I LOVED him more than anything or anyone in this universe. He meant EVERYTHING to me. And even if I accidentally said or did something hurtful, I apologized PROFUSELY and cried. It hurt me to hurt him in any way. Hurting him was the LAST thing I would ever willingly do.
I asked him where this was coming from. I couldn't make sense of it. The only real problem we had was with him changing his mind about moving in with me. (Or so I thought.)
He said we had many other problems. I asked, "Like what?"
He said that he tried holding me when I cried, even though it was "out of his nature."
What kind of man has trouble holding his girlfriend when she's crying? Helping her in her time of need? Consoling and comforting her?
That shouldn't be a problem.
I told him that maybe he was saying this out of anger. It happened the last time, back in October when he said he was going to leave and never come back again. I said maybe he didn't truly mean it this time.
He responded, "You think this is the first time I've thought about leaving you? I've thought about leaving you several times. I just thought it was worthwhile to stay, but now I see that it's not anymore."
That crushed me like a ton of bricks.
I was crying and looking around my room, trying to figure out how to quell this situation.
I said, "You know, I've had doubts about our relationship too. But you know what I do? I read the poems you wrote for me. Why don't you read them over and maybe it will remind you of the love we have for each other?"
He asked, "Where are they?"
I took them out of the drawer I kept them in and handed one to him. He looked it over for a few seconds, just scanning through the lines, not really reading it, and briskly handed it back to me.
"I know what it says, I'm the one who wrote it!"
"Okay, well what do you think?"
"These words, they mean nothing. I pick and choose words that will please you, but they're empty. They don't mean anything to me."
I was crushed even deeper into the ground than before.
"What? I. . . I don't understand."
"Sky, you know how you said you would do anything for me? Like, you would go to jail for me, or take a bullet for me, or die for me? I wouldn't do any of those things for you. I wouldn't do anything for you."
My heart sank in my chest and I could feel the already shattered parts breaking into even tinier shards.
It was one hurtful thing after the next. I was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that the person who I once thought was the man of my dreams was saying so many hurtful things to me, one after another.
At one point, I don't remember when, I frantically got on my knees and begged him to try and fix our relationship with me. I cried so hard and asked him, "Don't you see how much I love you? Don't you see how much you mean to me?"
He said, "Again, I'm more mechanical and logical. So yes, I see that you love and care about me, but it really doesn't do anything for me. You have to be more practical."
So I got off of my knees and started listing all of the pros and cons of our relationship, and why it's worth fighting for and keeping.
So this was it. I was tired of begging and pleading. He made himself clear that he wouldn't do anything for me like I would for him. So I asked him one final time.
"Alright, well do you love me?"
"Do you want to be with me?"
"Alright, so you want to break up?"
"Alright, well, if you don't want to be with me, and I 'impede' and 'threaten' your happiness, and you think you're better off alone. Then go."
He wouldn't get up from the bed.
"You said you don't want to be with me anymore. You said I cause you pain. Then this relationship is over. Here, take this."
I handed him back the promise ring.
"Are you sure you don't want to keep this?"
"This ring symbolized my promise to spend the rest of my life with you. And now, it literally means nothing. So no, take it. I don't want it anymore. Just go."
He still lingered! He wouldn't leave!
He stood up from the bed, rolling the ring around in his hand, and looked at me.
"You know, I really cared about you."
I laughed. "You obviously didn't! Just go! I'm never speaking to you again, but you still have my phone number and email."
He walked towards the door.
"So this is it? You want me to just go?"
"You said you don't want to be with me anymore. So why are you still here?! Just leave!"
Finally, he looked down, then back up at me, and said, "Bye Sky." Then he walked out the door and closed it behind himself.
And that was it, the last I've seen of him.
One minute, you're in a what you think is a loving relationship with a man you consider your equal. You think you're going to spend the rest of your lives together and get married someday. Share a house together.
The next minute, you're single again like it never happened. It was all a dream.
Crazy how life works that way. Constantly changing, every day.
That may be the end of our love story, but it's certainly not the end for me. I simply closed a chapter in my life, only to begin a new one. . .
I wrote this poem a couple of weeks after our break up:
We made an investment,
we planted a seed;
we nourished it
gave it whatever it would need.
But your lack of compassion
and selfish greed
it had to impede
all of our growth
that was meant to succeed.
But despite our downfall and my pain that you see,
I am not broken.
I am still free.
I thought there was so much
that we could achieve.
But you led me on
and made me believe
that our romance was lasting
and I was relieved.
But your promises were empty
all you did was deceive.
You look at me with anguish
like I tormented you so
when I did nothing but love you,
and you let me go!
Despite the loss and its tragedy,
I am not broken.
I am still free.
I'm still whole on my own,
one with unity.
I still love myself,
you'll never take that from me.
I might have said I needed him, but I never did. I don't need anyone. I just want someone.
Never again will I ever get on my knees for a man. Especially one who isn't worth my time.
And looking back at our relationship, I realize how selfish he was.
Small things that mattered to me, he wouldn't do. Like wear a little cologne once in a while, or watch one of my favorite movies or TV shows, fulfill sexual fantasies, etc. I would do whatever he wanted because I enjoyed catering to his desires and needs. But he would not do the same for me. He was right when he said he wouldn't do anything for me. He never did.
I am not as hurt by him as I am shocked. But in hindsight, it all makes sense. He's learned how to shut his emotions down completely. And that is why something as simple as holding me when I cry is so overwhelming for him.
He says I caused him pain, but I didn't. I exposed him to my pain, and my struggles, and that was too much for him to handle, so he left.
I will not let another failed relationship define or destroy me. I refuse to stop loving.
I am an immensely passionate, caring, affectionate, sensual, intimate and loving person. And I've been hurt many times before, but I refuse to close myself off and stop believing in the magic of romance and soulmates. I will not shut down like he did.
So my ex-lover, I hope you enjoy going back to your colorless life. I will continue to love on, without you.
Thanks for reading. <3