Learning old lessons … again

A few years ago, I wrote about relief and sadness in break-ups. That if the break-up comes with a feeling of relief, you know it’s for the best. The signs were there, you just ignored them.

If there are only feelings of sadness, you genuinely didn’t see it coming or didn’t see the challenges as outweighing the good times.

Yesterday I was all sadness. I stayed in bed all day, listening for your car in my driveway. Wishing you would come back, tell me it was all a mistake, apologise, promise it would’t happen again.

But today, there are feelings of intense relief. Things that troubled me two weeks in that I knowingly pushed down. I made excuses for behaviour I had decided I would never settle for again and just kept settling. Because I was in love.

I do love him. He says he loves me but it’s not enough.

If I throw back to that old post I mentioned before, love is always enough if it’s the right person.

Despite wanting to be, he was not my person and I was not his. I could have been, but I’d like to think I’ve learned something about myself over the past five or so years of dating since my divorce. He hammered these lessons home to me while I cried on the floor of my bedroom before he drove home drunk.

Lesson 1: I am not in love with my ex-husband. This one almost seems farcical to me. His “proof” was that I wore my wedding band on my right hand, as I have done for the past three or so years. I put it on my right hand when I was moving so it wouldn’t get lost. It was a reminder of my past, the mistakes I had made. I never hated my ex-husband and to me wearing my wedding band certainly didn’t mean I wanted him back. He also only chose to bring it up while dumping me so I guess that was just part of the pile on of “reasons” he needed to end. It.

Lesson 2: I don’t lie. I must have emphasised this point on so many occasions. Lying is the worst possible trait a person can have to me. So when he accused me of lying, I know it was all over. Reminding you of something you said to me when you were drunk doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I raised it to let you know I wouldn’t accept it and I accepted your apology for it. To turn around and tell me I made it up, well, that’s gaslighting.

The gaslighting was actually the very first red flag I saw, way back at the beginning of our relationship. You made me question myself and what I remembered of situations and conversations. I was always wrong and you were always right. You made me doubt myself.

Lesson 3: I don’t use people. You told me I had been using you to do things around my new house. I paid you for all the materials and parts you bought. I told you I would get tradies in. I told you I was happy to do so. You insisted you wanted to do it. You told me you would tell me if you didn’t want to do it. I’m at a loss at how I could have handled this one better. If that’s how you felt, then I am sorry. It was not my intention.

Lesson3a: I don’t use people for sex. This was a blind grab for material to make breaking up with me seem justified. You told me it was the best sex you’ve ever had on our first night together. I also don’t need to use anybody for sex, although I admit I have in the past. I loved you. I had believed our sex was about our feelings and passions. It hurts me that you suggested otherwise.

Lesson 4: I don’t yell. I admit that on Saturday night, you got me to the point where I felt I had to yell. You talked over me, around me, all over me. You would not stop to listen for a moment. I yelled at you. I yelled your name, hoping to snap you out of the drunken rant you were on, to stop you from driving home drunk. You got mad at me for yelling. I couldn’t win that one. You were never going to let me.

So, today I am sad. But I am also relieved. What we had was amazing except all the times it wasn’t. And they always, always involved drinking.

I’m not perfect but I’m not a liar, I’m not in love with my ex husband and I don’t use people for odd jobs. But, I know you have known women who have been those things … so am I all those things or are you just projecting your feelings about those relationships on to me?

I guess we’ll never find out now.

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