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A cautionary tale on on-off relationships


RescueDiver
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I'm really not sure which forum section I should put this in because it fits into so many. Basically what I'm looking to do with this thread is to share a story from my past in the hopes that someone else can benefit by not making the same mistakes I made. Bear in mind that the events of this tale took place several years ago and I have since healed and moved on from a pretty horrible emotional experience. I hope it will also help those of you who are in the midst of a painful breakup remember that there is hope and that you will love again. I am proof of that.

 

Enter Marissa... Marissa was a girl I met... eight years ago at a birthday/halloween party for a mutual friend (Amanda). Anyway, I had just gotten out of a relationship with a girl that Amanda had set me up with. Well, it's more like Amanda just gave this other girl (Jamie) a little push. Jamie ended up dumping me after a few weeks and going back to one of her ex's (this has happened a lot to me over the years). Anyway, Marissa is very nice, and very attractive, but 7 years younger than me (at the time I think she was only 17) and had a boyfriend (who was in his thirties believe it or not). Before any of you throw the around... yes, Marissa had/has some serious issues. The man she is married to now marks the first time she has dated anyone even close to her age range (not to mention younger). Throughout the party Marissa and I sit together on the couch (much to the chagrin of my ex-girlfriend Jamie, who was also at the party). Marissa and I end up chatting on the couch after much of the party is finished and she begins dozing off. Being the gentleman I was (er... am), I excused myself and slept in a guest bedroom. I mentioned to Amanda a few days later that I liked Marissa and wished I could get to know her better.

 

That was pretty much the last I heard of it for a few weeks until Amanda unexpectedly showed up at my door and convinced me to go out to dinner with her. Actually at the time I was rather annoyed because I had just finished making dinner (okay so it was only Mac & Cheese... I was a poor college grad at the time and had just started my first post-college job). Well, my annoyance evaporated when I got to Amanda's car and saw Marissa in the back seat. Amanda had of course orchestrated this all to get Marissa and I to know each other better. After that Marissa and I exchanged several e-mails and a few phone calls. I eventually asked Marissa out after I had heard that she had broken up with her boyfriend. I of course gave her a few week reprieve and then asked her. She declined saying that she wasn't over her ex yet (though she had been the one to end it). I would have made further attempts but a month later I got hired by the Madison Fire Department and moved away. So I figured that, as they say, was that.

 

About a year later I was up in Eau Claire (where I lived previously) visiting friends and I stopped to visit Amanda. Among other things I heard that Marissa had gone off to college in St. Cloud, Minnesota (strangely enough Eau Claire is right smack dab in between St. Cloud and Madison). There she'd met a new boyfriend (not-surprisingly also in his 30's). A few months later I get a phone call from Amanda saying that Marissa's in town and she wants to see me. Amanda and I know each other well enough to where we don't need to mince words. I asked her what the deal was (why would Marissa want to see me if she already has a boyfriend). Amanda thought that for sure Marissa was interested in me. Now bear in mind that Amanda and Marissa are *best* friends so she would know better than anyone if that were the case. Well, this intrigues me, but there are a few problems, first the midwest is getting a massive snowstorm at the time... making the 180 mile trip to Eau Claire rather more of an oddessy than it normally is. Second, Marissa (and her boyfriend) are visiting Amanda. This pretty much kills the idea for me because as much as I'd like to see Marissa again, it would be very awkward for me because of my interest in her. I politely decline the invitation citing my reasons and Amanda understands.

 

That again is the last I hear of Marissa for quite a while. For the next 9 months or so I'm in and out of a few different relationships... then September 11th happens (which I don't think needs any other description right now). About a month later I get a phone call from who-else, but Marissa herself. We end up talking for over two hours just catching up and talking. Marissa tells me that the events of September 11th were what prompted her to call me. I guess the deaths of all those firefighters in New York had something to do with it (and I was the only firefighter she knew personally). We both said we'd talk to each other again since we'd both enjoyed the conversation so much. A few days later my paternal grandfather died. Though I never really knew him, out of respect for my father and his family I went to the Twin-Cities or just "The Cities" (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota for those that aren't familiar with the term) for the wake dinner. Since I had some vacation at that time anyway, I took some additional bereavement leave which gave me a few extra days tagged on to my vacation. I used that time to swing through and visit friends in Eau Claire on the way to the Twin-Cities. During one such visit I got a call from Marissa (which turned out to be at a really bad time since I was trying to help a friend with her out-of-control daughter). Anyway, Amanda called me a little later on that night. Basically on a recon mission for Marissa. I had made plans with Marissa recently to meet up for breakfast on my way back from St. Paul (Marissa would be staying with her mother in a small town between St. Paul and Eau Claire). Amanda said that Marissa had finally come around and had admitted that she was indeed interested in me and apparently had said that she felt she was in danger of "falling hard for me." Because I hadn't really been able to talk to Marissa that night she was afraid that I wasn't really interested in her. I asked Amanda to do her best to reassure Marissa that I was in fact interested in her (because I was). She said she would. The next couple of days came and went without event and I stopped to visit Marissa as planned. We met at a diner for breakfast along with her younger developmentally-disabled sister and mother (who thankfully offered to buy breakfast as I left my wallet in my car). As a quirky turn of fate would have it, this is all happening on the two year anniversary of the day she and I met. Marissa's mother excused herself as she and Marissa's sister were going to Eau Claire to go shopping and they would be back later on that evening. She paid for our breakfasts and departed. Marissa and I chatted for a little while as I finished my breakfast and then we went back to her mother's condo to chat. Well, next thing you know we're cuddled up on the couch and we have our first kiss. Only took two years, but better late than never. Marissa invites me to stay the night (which I accept after making sure it was alright with her mother... I wanted to make a good impression of course). The next morning we go for a walk, talk some more, and basically plan for me to come visit Marissa up in St. Cloud the next weekend. I leave for Madison happier than I had ever been up to that point. By the end of that next weekend Marissa and I have fallen head-over-heels in love for each other.

 

Over the next three months I am in the happiest, most wonderful relationship I had ever been in. There are a few bumps (including a possibly pregnancy scare and a visit from her ex-boyfriend), but we seem able to make it through these rough times remarkably well. Then after a week-long visit during late January Marissa breaks up with me. While it isn't a complete surprise, I am still crushed. The reason I say I wasn't completely surprised is because Marissa had been acting increasingly "strange" in the couple weeks leading up to it. On the night before I went to visit her I basically caught Marissa in a lie where she was at another guy's house when she said she was at home. Bear in mind that because Marissa and I live so far away from each other (over 350 miles) we spend a lot of time talking on the phone. Because of that, I had become very in tune with certain nuances, background noises of her home, etc... For excample, there was a certain floorboard that *always* creaked when she walked to the bathroom. Anyway, not hearing any of these background noises for the first time basically led me to use a second phone to call her house line (we were talking on her cell phone) and hearing no ring... confirmed my suspicions. I called Amanda later on that night and asked what was up. Amanda referenced a small hiccup in our relationship back in November. Apparently what happened is John (Marissa's ex-boyfriend, the guy she had been seeing for the past year-and-a-half) showed up on her doorstep one night and invited her on a walk. Marissa had told me all of this right after it had happened, and I had asked her if the meeting had led to her sleeping with him. She gave me a very unconvincing "no". Understanding the danger at the time, I asked her if she wanted to continue with our relationship. I told her that I was very much in love with her and didn't want to lose her, but that if this wasn't what she wanted that it would be best to end it now before we became even more emotionally attached. She said she didn't want this to end because for her too it was the best relationship she had ever been in. Well, of course what Marissa hadn't said is that John had indeed seduced her into bed. After it had happened Marissa had immediately called Amanda in tears wondering what to do. Amanda asked her if she still loved me and she said she did. Amanda didn't think that telling me about it was as important as never letting that happen again, so she asked Marissa to promise never to do that again... that it would be better to break up with me first. Marissa agreed. After telling me the story of what had really happened back in November she said she figured that was what was happening now. I agreed that was indeed what was probably going on. As I have already said, Marissa ended up breaking up with me several days later.

 

The aforementioned breakup really wasn't a clean one though and it led to a period in my life that I'm not terribly proud of. Anyway a few weeks after she breaks up with me, we end up meeting at her mother's house (just as friends). I am actually surprised that her mother doesn't object to this. What I end up finding out later is that her mother detests John (and not just because of the 14 year age difference between him and her daughter) and had grown quite fond of me during the time Marissa and I were dating. I imagine this is why (though she didn't really approve of the behavior) she never did much to discourage our meetings. Marissa ends up telling me at one point during that weekend that she doesn't think things will work between her and John. When I ask her why is she doing it then she replies "Because I need to know". Like so many other people, Marissa had fallen into the trap of not being able to escape the idea that she had put so much time and effort into a relationship with John that it seemed like a shame to waste it. Also, while things were really great with me, I was still an unknown for her and she at least knew how John was. For good or bad she knew what to expect. Over the next 7 months Marissa sees me on and off (which basically amounts to an emotional affair). There are a few cheating episodes which at the time I convince myself that I was justified because "he did it to me." That whole time she is back and forth with her affections towards me which leaves me an emotional wreck. When things were going well between her and John I would get ignored. When they weren't, Marissa would drown me in affection.

 

Finally that July Marissa reached the realization that John simply hadn't changed, and wouldn't change. She broke up with him and we began dating again. I was happy, but at the same time, I was still scarred emotionally from the past several months. I had made the mistake of believing that things would go back to being just as wonderful as they once were. Things unfortunately were never the same again. Marissa and I fought more easily and more frequently now. Still I loved Marissa and wanted to eventually marry her, I just wanted the fighting to stop. A year into our rekindled relationship Marissa broke up with me again. More or less the reason was that in the early stages of our new relationship I wasn't the best boyfriend I could have been. It took me a while to get over the hurt I had suffered and instead of taking that time outside of a relationship with her like I should have, I let it pollute our rekindled relationship. By the time I had gotten past what had happened all those months ago it was too late, the damage had already been done. There were other factors too, most notably school and work stresses. She also said that her mother no longer approved of me because I had "hurt" her (Marissa). I would later find out that Marissa's mother still approved of me and didn't know where I would get the idea that she felt otherwise. Anyway, Marissa, as I would come to understand, was never able to effectively deal with the stress in her life. Anyway, a couple of weeks after the breakup Marissa seemed to have second thoughts and we saw each other a few times over the next month or two. Then Marissa once again said it was over, this time for good because she didn't think she loved me the way I loved her. Not anymore at least. Still Marissa and I stayed in touch (over phone, IM, and E-mail). I of course hoped and prayed that somehow we would get back together. What I would later find out is that she had once again gone back to John. Or had at least begun seeing him non-exclusively. I would occasionally hear Marissa talk about going on dates and so forth. Fortunately she spared me the details which I obviously didn't want to hear.

 

Roughly a month later Marissa told me about having to attend a couple of Minnesota Orchestra Concerts for a class she was taking (by now she was a full-fledged college senior I offhandedly told her I'd love to go, but obviously I couldn't because of the "situation." Well, a few days later she asked me if I would like to go to a concert with her. I told her I'd love to. A few days after that, on the morning after a particluarly long friendly conversation Marissa said "I love you." Without thinking I replied that I loved her too. I wasn't sure if was a slip or what, and it left me very confused. Well, the orchestra concert came and well, the "just friends" concept went right out the window. Actually, I feared that Marissa would use the occasion for closure. What happened really couldn't be further from that. Marissa ended up kissing me which of course reawakened feelings in both of us. In a way, it was like a first date all over again. We spent part of it dancing to music from my car radio up on the roof of a parking garage under the lights from Minneapolis' many skyscrapers. When we parted, Marissa said that she loved me, but she needed time away... time to figure things out, maybe to date other people. I told her I understood. One of the problems with relationships Marissa has always had is that she jumps out of one and into another one without really taking time out for herself. Anyway, a few days later we talked about what happened and made another "date" to see another Orchestra concert. Marissa stipulated that she didn't want me to think that we were for sure getting back together, and asked me how I would feel about her seeing other people. I told her that I would be understandably jealous and hurt, but would understand. She explained that she might do that to find out if her rekindled feelings for me were genuine.

 

A few days later, Marissa asked me if I would come visit her the next day (Halloween... again on the anniversary of our initial meeting... and the 2 year anniversary of or initial relationship). I told her I would love to. The timing of this wasn't lost on me and it reminded me of what a psychiatrist once said about the "subconscious" remembering certain days even if the conscious mind did not. Since nothing had been decided yet, I figured I would probably be spending a night or two in a hotel room since the orchestra concert wasn't for a few days. Well, that night after some initial uneasiness we ended up once again in each others arms. I ended up spending the next two weeks with Marissa (which was great considering that I had vacation time to burn up, but nothing to do). That touched off a rekindled relationship that lasted until March.

 

Around the turn of the year Marissa was facing a very trying time. Her grandfather (who she was extremely close to) was dying of terminal cancer. She was facing graduation and needed to find a job pronto (she had always had money issues because she pretty much had to support herself all through college). Our relationship at the time wasn't perfect, but it was certainly better than it had been the last time we had gotten back together. We didn't really fight much, but had occasional minor spats. Anyway, all of that stress pretty much overloaded her ability to cope and she decided to act on one of the few things that she actually had control over and that was our relationship. So, she ended it.

 

Over the time we were back together Marissa admitted that she had gone back to John once again after she had broke up with me the previous July. Still he hadn't changed. There was one difference this time though. John had broken up with her (instead of the other way around as it had been the past three or so times they had broken up and gotten back together). One Marissa's big sticking points with John was that he had never made any mention of wanting to marry her (whereas I had). John also didn't express his love (or that he loved her) very well. He never said "I love you" very much (certainly not often enough for her). I guess he had also duped her a couple of times into believing that he was "saving up" for an engagement ring (once was when she broke up with me the first time, the second was more recent). That money had either never existed, or he had used it for other more frivolous purchases. At any rate I had given Marissa a promise ring the night of the first orchestra concert. It was nice ring if nothing else, it wasn't engagement ring quality of course, but it wasn't cheap garbage either. So, Marissa had said that she knew that I at least was sincere in my desire to marry her.

 

Over the next four months I struggled through my healing process. Just when I was pretty much over Marissa, she invited me to come visit her. This time though neither of us was naieve about what might happen. We ended up in each others arms once more. That weekend Marissa was flying out to Las Vegas for a big conference and I offered to drive her to the airport since it was on my way home. As we sat together in the airport Marissa said "I love you" and told me that once again she was having mixed feelings about me and was beginning to want to get back together again. She said that us getting back together (if I still wanted to) was a definite possibility, but it might not be right away. I smiled and told her I understood. She said the problem now, wasn't desire, but career. She was applying to work all over the country and wasn't sure where she might end up. She actually had applied for a job in Madison and if she got that job... well, us getting back together was more of a foregone conclusion. She didn't say that, but we both knew that would be the case. Basically what had happened with John is he ended up moving to the East Coast and didn't like the long distance aspect of the relationship and ended it. Marissa and I had pretty much dealt with distance from day one. So I figured that even if she got a job far away we could make it work. It would just be a matter of letting her get settled. Without directly saying it, she implied that once she'd gotten a year or so of experience under her belt that she would be able to move much closer.

 

That was the last time I saw Marissa. We had planned see each other again in a couple of weeks after she returned from her conference and a couple of out of state job interviews. However, while she was attending a multi-day interview in Texas, she met an immigrant from the Ivory Coast. To make an already too-long story a little bit shorter, she fell in love with him. I didn't find out until she'd returned from that job interview. Marissa's demeanor had completely changed. She had suddenly gone from being very friendly and affectionate to being very cold and matter-of-fact. It was then that she told me about this newcomer. Fortunately this would be the last time my heart would be broken by her. In the months that followed there were a few times when Marissa seemed to want to be with me again, but both of us had had enough of the rollercoaster we had shared for the past three years. Eventually Marissa moved to New Jersey for a job and nine months later married Curtis (the guy she met in Texas). What we had both come to realize is that while she was going back and forth between John and I, each of us fulfilled something that the other apparently couldn't. Marissa's relationship with John was based primarily on a great sex life. However with John, Marissa never really felt the love and affection that I showed her. She told me more than once that "with me she never wondered if I loved her. She always knew. With John, she never knew for sure." Fortunately for both of us we have since found new relationships. Relationships that fulfill all of and not just some of our needs.

 

Now, I'm simply sharing this story as a cautionary tale to anyone else who is in a similar situation. If you're in a relationship that's going back and forth... on and off... do your heart a favor and sit down and think about what you really need and want. Also bear in mind that relationships once broken, are more often than not, never the same again. I can't stress that point enough. There are exceptions, but a certain "magic" or "innocence" is lost once a relationship breaks and it is virtually impossible to regain it. It will be easier to fight, hurt each other, etc. That is not to say that there are never fights in healthy relationship or that you can't "fight" in a healthy way.

 

Anyway, in closing, hopefully someone can benefit from this by learning from my mistakes and not making the same ones.

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Rescue,

 

I noticed that you kept in contact with Marissa after each break. Did you call her or did she call you? Did you ever tell her you didn't want to talk to her or be "just friends" because of your love for her? Did you continue to see her for lunch and such? I'm just curious. You know my tale of heartache and I'm trying to learn from yours. I'm actively pursuing other "interests", but my heart still lies with my ex. I was shocked when he came over to me in the restaurant last week, but I now think he actually wanted to speak to me - if even for a few seconds. Just the way he smiled at me and rubbed my shoulder. I know this guy for some time. And he just didn't look all that happy with her. She was all over him - but he was not all over her. He looked "uncomfortable". Maybe it's just wishful thinking. But I am seeing someone else now and trying to move on. But in the back of my mind I just have this feeling that they will split and he will call me again. I guess only time will tell. I predict December, 2006. Funny - eh? Please let me know how you handled your contact with Marissa after your initial break when she went back to her ex. Did you not contact her at all and wait for her to call you? If so, how long before she called you? Was it days, weeks or months? Just curious...

 

By the way, when is the baby due?

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Well for starters, the baby is due in less than a month (November 10th). Hopefully not much earlier than that because if so I will be burning a lot of sick time which I am hoping to save for other emergencies.

 

To answer your other question, the first time Marissa broke up with me it was really a very strange and confusing situation. When we split, there were no agreements on call/no-call, etc... I seem to remember letting her do most of the calling because at the time each time she called me was an affirmation that she still at least wanted to talk to me. It was really obvious that she still loved me and still cared for me. I think she called me the day after she broke up with me to make sure I was okay (I'm a firefighter, so having a hazardous job she was afraid I might be distracted by what was happening between us and something bad would happen). Then she told me she loved me and she'd talk to me again soon. That pretty much continued for the next 6 months. There would be varying degrees of love and affection in her voice mail messages or IMs or our phone conversations. There were many setbacks and several times when I thought I ought to give up. This back and forth thing was pretty much because Marissa was just very confused about what she wanted out of a relationship. Bear in mind that this John guy wasn't the most affectionate/loving/romantic guy, but they had a history, he was from a wealthy family would be making about 3x's what I made when he graduated, and he was good in bed. Marissa came from a somewhat underpriviledged family so the earning potential was kinda important to her because she didn't want her children to go without the way she had.

 

Roughly a month and a half after the split we tried a week long no-contact agreement... which she immediately broke. We tried again a few days later and this time she held to it. The reason we did this is because she felt she couldn't evaluate John's ability to empathize with her if I handled the brunt of that. If she had a bad day or she was really upset or whatever... I was the first one she was calling, not John. Well, we did that and John did pretty well initially because our contact after that dropped off sharply. However, once the semester was over she would be moving out of where she was living. She was renting a bedroom from a woman that lived near campus and this woman's fiance' was to be moving in. So, Marissa ended up moving in with her grandfather for the summer and working at a window manufacturer. This put a pretty good distance in between her and John... actually put her geographically right in between us. As I'd already mentioned towards the close of my first post, John doesn't do so well with distances. That or he was just reverting to his old self... or maybe it was a combination of both.

 

The next time we split there was some talk about it being "for good" this time. Basically I didn't feel that I would be able to be friends with her because my heart was so consumed with her that I wouldn't be able to move on if we were still talking. Well, look what happened last time and since there supposedly wouldn't be another chance for me... why torment myself. So basically we agreed never to talk to each other again. That was a pretty horrid night... probably one of the worst I can remember. Days later... (don't remember exactly how long) I broke down and called her. Basically all I said to her when I called (I was amazed she even answered) was to not hang up, just listen... then I told her that never talking to her again really wasn't what I wanted and blah blah blah. Well, she said that she didn't know if "talking again" was what she really wanted and that she'd have to think about it. I left it at that. Later... it was either that night, or a couple of days later... she called me back and we ended up talking for a few hours (just like old times). That pretty much ended that no contact thing. The only thing that time is I didn't know she was back with John again. The only thing she would tell me is that she was dating other people from school. The reason she didn't tell me is because she was afraid if I found out she was back with John that I'd never speak to her again. Basically I told her when we got back together the last time that she wasn't to see John ever again because I didn't want a repeat of what happened early on in our relationship. I didn't find any of this out until we got back together again in October and all of this came out. I was actually rather flattered that she didn't want to tell me about John. That told me that she hadn't actually meant "never again."

 

The final time we broke up sadly was right after my 30th birthday party. Like the first time she broke up with me I knew it was coming down the pipe not that it made it any easier. That time also we didn't set any rules for no contact. However, Marissa was very... mean this time. There were more than a few times I told her between March and June (when we had our final get-together) that if she was going to talk to me that way that she ought not talk to me at all. A large part of it was oversensitivity on my part, but Marissa had also become very jaded and resentful. When John broke up with her I think it really affected her more than she wanted to let on. She became very resentful of men in general and since I was right there... I caught the brunt of it. That along with all the stress of graduating, senior level classes, trying to find a job... yeah, she was a serious * * * * *. Actually a lot of that started that previous December when her grandfather's health began to deteriorate. The other thing that was stressing her out is that for the most part our relationship during those months... from October to March was largely a secret. For some reason she didn't want her mom to know she was seeing me again. Whatever reason she had really didn't make sense since her mother really had nothing against me. I mean she might have rolled her eyes about us flip-flopping in and out of a relationship, but I think that would've been as much disapproval as she would've seen. I remember when her grandfather died she was upset with me because I didn't go to the funeral. Well, at the time, I was an outsider... remember that her family didn't know we were seeing each other again so to invite myself along would've been rather... rude. Plus I was never invited. All Marissa had to do was say "Would you come to my grandfather's funeral." and poof... I would've gone. But this is all water under the bridge... even if that had gone differently, I doubt it would have mattered much. Marissa was under far too much stress and she felt that the only way to deal with it was to get rid of the one thing that she had control over, and that was our relationship.

 

Anyway, due to the distance involved (Marissa lived 360 miles away from me) there was no just going out for lunch. Any visit either way involved an overnight stay of some fashion. The only exception to that would've been if I were up visiting my family and she was visiting her grandparents (both lived near half-way in between Marissa and I) we could meet for lunch (which we did do a couple of times). But, as you can see from my story... pretty much any time we were left alone together we started to reconcile. Even when I went up there for that last time... both of us marveled at what a wonderful time we had and I pretty much figured out then too that the distance also had a lot to do with our problems. Marissa and I rarely fought when we were together. Even when we spent 2 weeks together straight. Most of the time we fought on the phone and it was because of silly misunderstandings that you wouldn't have in person. There had been talk at one point during that last meeting about her potentially coming to live with me in Madison... but we never got a chance to really expand on that conversation because of Curtis' arrival.

 

Now, you may be wondering how this all differed from what happened with Jennifer? Well, in the most basic sense... it didn't. Jennifer and I were on a different footing though because we had been going out only a month (and it really hadn't developed into an exclusive relationship yet). Whereas Marissa and I had been dating for exclusively for three months. The biggest difference between what happened with Marissa (I'm referring primarily to the first time she broke it off) and what happened with Jennifer is the time-period involved and the level of contact. Jennifer and I didn't have any face-to-face contact whereas Marissa and I did. The reason Jennifer and I didn't meet up in person during the break is because we both knew what might happen if we did and we didn't want to go down that road (I had already been down it with Marissa). The key though I think was the time involved. The first two to three months after the first Marissa breakup were very very similar to the way it was with Jennifer. At least with our long distance interactions. The difference primarily was that with Jennifer our attraction and feelings for each other steadily grew over that time, with Marissa, it was an already established thing. We were already in love. Now, in the case with Marissa, once we got beyond that first three months more and more resentment began to build. Had Marissa only taken three months (like Jennifer did) to come back things might have gone a lot differently. By month three Marissa had started to realize and even said that she didn't see things working out between her and John... but continued to date him and that became progressively more frustrating for me. One of the other things I remember from that period was that John was supposed to be going on a big sailing trip with his father after he graduated. He would be gone (and virtually out of contact) from a few months, up to a year (I guess it depended on how far they got before they ran out of money or got bored). Well, the trip itself was up in the air pretty much all spring. I would occasionally get "progress reports" from Marissa as to how their boat was coming (it needed some repairs and refitting). I figured that if John went on that trip, Marissa would get back together with me for certain. Well the trip ended up not happening and I figured my chances were now shot. John had been saving up for years for this trip so he had probably tens of thousands of dollars set aside. Because the trip was now scuttled, he had enough money to buy her a very nice engagement ring, as well as pay for a pretty nice wedding. All he had to do was propose to Marissa and that would have ended it. That's would have given her the affirmation she sought and she would have gone along with it. I knew it, and Marissa knew it (and had said so to me more than once that spring). Sounds simple enough right? After all they had been dating for at least two years by that point.

 

So basically that's what I mean when I say know when to let go. The problem is that it isn't always easy to know when that point has been reached. But once that point has been reached theres a good chance that any resurrected relationship could be poisoned. I think the trap I may have fallen into is that I reached that point, and without knowing it, getting Marissa back became more about "winning" than getting back the relationship I once had. I say that because once it finally happened... it wasn't the joyous occasion I had envisioned. It just sorta happened, without any real fanfare. The other problem was that Marissa did mourn losing her relationship with John for a while too (which is understandable).

 

And yes, it may well be that he wasn't comfortable. He may be uncomfortable with the relationship, or he may have been uncomfortable that you were there... hard to say.

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