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I Was Made to Love You | 2011 | The Tango

05.24.11 1:34 p.m.

If you wish to understand yourself, you must succeed in doing so in the midst of all kinds of confusions and upsets. Don't make the mistake of sitting dead in the cold ashes of a withered tree.  



Already Met You

Of all I have tried to recover from this breakup, the most therapeutic (aside from a truly daunting amount of confessional writing) has been to read what I wrote about my last one. With a few revisions, I could have copied and pasted what happened with Emily and changed the names.

They both lingered, thanking me for my love and compassion toward them in their time of uncertainty, until they found someone to jump to and a new life without me in it. They both referred to this person as a "catalyst" but not the cause of the breakup and defended the catalyst against all imagined attacks. They both became furious over something I thought was innocent, because anger made them feel righteous for leaving me, made them feel justified in what they did (and what they promptly did in their anger). They both insisted I was a wonderful boyfriend, absolutely too good to them, and had done nothing wrong. They both said they wished I had. They individually encouraged me to find someone new as soon as possible to help their guilt ebb. They both took increasing time away from me under the auspices of work to make their leaving easier for them. They both ran just as we were on the precipice of our relationships getting deeper and better, realer, if a little trickier.

My reactions, too, were nearly identical, even some of my phrasing. My advice to myself then could not have been much more spot-on now. There are even mirrors in how I coped, gaining friendship with new women to whom I was not attracted to prove I could, rebound crushing on someone I imagined would not reciprocate, trying to go on dates for the sake of dates, losing weight, even to the very specific checking out and rejecting women in New Paltz with Dave and Nikki. In another's shoes, I would assume this was intentional, that I undertook the same steps to hurry the process, but I assure you that it has been years since I looked back at these entries. Any similarity is unconscious.

I am not sure what conclusions to draw from this. I do not see the two women or our relationships as especially equivalent otherwise. Emily was more willing to make sacrifices to be with me, I love Melanie more completely. Emily stayed more or less constant after the breakup, Melanie tried to become a different person (changing her ethics, orientation, and identity). Were I less confident, I might wonder if I am not a stepping stone for slightly insecure, somewhat damaged but driven women to heal enough to get on with their lives.

Melanie was never a rebound from Emily, though I kissed her a month to the day after I was dumped. Whoever comes next won't be a rebound from Melanie, but I will know better what I need in a relationship owing to Melanie. (Which is not remotely to say that she is forgiven for leaving. That remains a stupid mistake that she did not need to make, no matter how inevitable she tries to convince herself it was.)

My mother said, days ago, that I had already been through the worse breakup. Seven and a half years with the woman with whom I lived and almost married should trump three and a half years with a girl I love but with whom I had no announced engagement or property sharing, no matter than the latter is much closer. Perhaps she is right. I did get over Emily, I did come to see the breakup as a blessing once I was with a woman to whom I was better suited. Right now, I want most to stumble upon such a woman again, but I will be more patient. I will resist being pounced upon, however enraptured I am by her. I will make sure she does not see me as an exciting fling, but someone she wishes to potentially be with long term.

I will not let myself keep repeating mistakes I should have learned from.

Soon in Xenology: Coping.

last watched: Scrubs
reading: Tao of Pooh
listening: Tom Waits

I Was Made to Love You | 2011 | The Tango

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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