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Feeling the Feelings... A Novella

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September 27, 2011

Hello All,

This post is way-long, but thank you for being here. Though I have great friends and am in therapy, I thought it a good idea to put my thoughts, both objective and subjective, into the universe for feedback from others experiencing the same feelings. This forum also serves as therapy, and hopefully I can help others as well with my story.

After two years, one-and-a-half of which we lived together, my girlfriend and I broke-up in May of this year. It was basically mutual; she asked me to move- out, saying that we needed time apart, but that we weren’t necessarily “through” – I said I couldn’t do that, that I was done.

We’ve seen each other four times since – it’s small town. Two of the chance encounters were at two different grocery stores – we engaged in brief “weather” banter while smiling, and embraced – I was feeling pretty good, but was really “acting as-if.” The third time (August) was in our therapist’s office for a “closure” meeting – she was effervescent (she’s a “hair-on-fire” workaholic, and everything is always “great”), and I was a needy mess. I asked if there was any chance for us to reunite - she said, “No.” I asked if she missed me – she said, “I care about you, but I don’t miss you.” I asked her if she had thrown away everything that I ever gave her – she said, “Some, but not all.” I still occasionally chastise myself for looking like a needy jerk, but my therapist (a woman) later praised me for being honest. We ended on a good note, embracing and laughing about our quirks. The fourth time was at church (August), where we both are members – I hadn’t attended since the break-up. My ex- suggested at the “closure” meeting that I return to church, so I did, looking like a deer in headlights; I haven’t attended since. For now, it's still too painful to see her, especially in a sanctuary where spirituality once united us. I must take care of myself.

I don’t want her to think I’m hurting, though some of the time I’m not. Her image creeps forcefully in at times, and some moments in some days are extremely painful. I still idealize the “good times,” and there were many. But the notion of her, of us, is gradually fading, like the swirl in “Somewhere in Time” when Jane Seymour is swallowed into the whirlpool, unwillingly and permanently detaching from Christopher Reeve…

We met on the Internet in May 2009, communicated by e-mail and telephone for several weeks, establishing a wonderful, vulnerable, and open rapport while exploring our commonalities. When we met physically for the first time, we both were enamored. I’m now 58, she 56 – we met at 56 and 54. When she got out of her car, I was absolutely stunned at her beauty for a woman her age, and she had a bubble-butt to boot. (I'm not a sexist, but...) Anyway, we made love two weeks later and were off-and-running – we went too soon from acquaintances to lovers, a pattern I’ve repeated throughout my life (one issue among others on which I’m working).

Throughout the best of the relationship (approx. 18 months of two years – it was after I moved-in that issues began to surface), we swore that we were soulmates, that we’d grow old together. We also shared much sacramental / tantric lovemaking. Though physical intimacy was a large part of our relationship, we also shared a spiritual, emotional, and mental bond, and a lot of laughter. It’s very difficult to let go of everything... Whether it was romantic limerence or true love, it was love, and it was great for awhile. How can something so sweet go so sour?

We weren’t physically intimate from January to when I moved-out at the beginning of May, but during those four months I received many mixed signals - neither of us was truly ready to throw in the towel. We would snuggle, but she wouldn’t make love; she’d undress in front of me, but would say that we were just friends. There were red flags that I could not / would not heed – I didn’t have the courage to leave. She was willing to go to any lengths to maintain control; I was willing to go to any lengths to hang-on.

Part of what kills me is that she’s seemingly over it, and I’m not, though it’s getting better. During the first six to eight weeks, I sent her one e-mail and two letters – no whining; they were truly friendly overtures. She didn’t respond to any of the communication, which I now understand - I no longer initiate any contact. Though I was promoting friendship, I also realize that I was attempting to maintain contact, and when she didn’t respond, I felt worse, realizing that I had hurt myself - I suppose it takes time for friendship to coalesce. She’s returned to the dating website where we met, looking for, I presume, my replacement (pity-potty). I had returned to the site to assess the dating possibilities, and there she was, so I deactivated my account. Thinking of her in bed with another man kills me at times (not anger, but pain and anxiety). I doubt that’s happened yet (she's not a "sleeper-around-er"), but it will eventually, and for me, too. It’s only fair and natural – I want her to be happy, but being as codependent as I am, I’m having a tough time letting go.

I’m into avoidance, going around places where I think she might be, driving a couple of extra blocks to avoid the church, etc. I do not want to see her (haven’t since August); even seeing her car hurts like hell. I vacillate greatly between missing her and moving on - the break-up still seems unreal at times. (I’ve been told that I’m experiencing withdrawal, that ending a relationship produces brain chemicals akin to kicking cocaine. I’ve read that ending a relationship ranks second in life, after death of a loved one, as the most difficult event to endure.) Denial / Anger / Bargaining / Depression / Acceptance: Yo-yo, bounce, bounce…

It’s said that everyone enters our lives for a purpose - we learn much from those to whom we are attracted. She and I shared our lives together for awhile, a chapter of loving, learning, and strife - we can't always continue journeys together with some of those who brighten our worlds for a time. From light to darkness to light... The Law of Attraction… It takes two to make it, it takes two to break it… Life's passages often manifest only in retrospect, but I’m tired of “endings” – I don’t have in me another broken relationship. I guess I’m afraid that, at my age, I won’t again experience love with a woman.

Thank you for “listening,” and for your support.


"For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." Rainer Maria Rilke

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