She said "I am sorry for being a bitch"

I just said "thank you."

We said goodbye shortly after.

I didn't really know what to feel. My head went numb. I went and laid in bed for about 15 minutes afterwards. Not relaxed, just frozen. I think I was feeling too many things at once and my mind just froze like a computer with too many applications running at once.

I feel like I am playing with with matches in a fireworks store. I have dealt with all of this. I certainly needed to hear that for my own sake, but I don't like what it means. It means that the person I so deeply cared about was there all along. It means she changed, but not at the core. It means things just didn't work out. Not that anyone in particular is to blame - distance, AT&T's shitty service, our own emotional immaturity at the time, parents, my stubbornness, my job, the economy. Life happened.

I keep finding myself going back to my own little fairy tales..

But it's been so long. I don't know how to sort it all out. So much has changed. We haven't really spoken in over a year.

So, I just turned to the dialogue I have had with myself in order to find a little clarity.

---also torn between affirming and ridiculing the form of attachment I had. Part of me says it was the kind of secure attachment that is the basis for a good relationship, the other part of me says it's exactly this kind of attachment that leads to pain

Fall 2010

Well, I made my trip to NYC and now I am back. I feel like I always return from these journeys a new type of man.

I didn't tell my old girl I was in town this time, but she emailed me over my birthday so I responded, extended an invitation and we ended up sitting down a few days later to talk. I am glad we did, it clarified so much. I didn't sense the uncertainty in her eyes, the warmth I used to know was gone, and she was just another person that I'd met along life's journey.

As usual, the conversation started out in the concrete. I've learned how to deal with the inevitable period of introductions and status updates that must precede any emotional conversation we ever have.I just nod my head, share some anecdotes and try to give a time line of the things goings on of our lives. I recognize them as coincidences and would rather talk about what I learned but there is something comforting to her about talking about the concrete reality of the world. Ironically that is exactly the realization I had.

For the longest time I felt two distinct emotions. Primarily that I had hurt someone I really cared about and that someone I believed in had given up on me. Independently either is a difficult life experience, together they was a bit much. Especially when paired with my own uncertainty about what I would for for a "career."

What made it even worse was that the one person I would typically go to for moral support was the person in question (which was also another problem which has led me to be more open with more people so I am not in that position again - there is little to be gained from being so closed off to the world). In short I felt very alone, and it was scary.

But it was good. I had to stare in the mirror for a long time. I was eventually able to see myself and not see what I wanted to be.

To be clear I never cared about dating. That was her idea and that was why I ended it in the first place. I felt like we could never be close until she dealt with a few big things holding her/us back and I had my own reservations I wanted to address that I wasn't going to be able to do in a long distance relationship. It wasn't about changing who she was as much as getting her to break the shackles of external expectation (mostly from family), but I felt like if it was going to work, certain things were going to change. If that didn't change then I really didn't have a lot of faith that it was going to work in the long term because she was never going to fully be herself.

Anyway, we were complete opposites. She was introverted, I was extroverted. She lived in the concrete realities of life, I thrived on the abstract and theoretical. I based my decisions on logic and rationality, she was very emotional. I liked freedom and open ended endeavors, she preferred rules, order a plan, and security. It might sound like a recipe for disaster, but and it might have been, but I felt like we really complemented each other on a very profound level. I got her to see beyond her own little circle and she kept me grounded and got me out of my head. In some ways I was a little bored with the future I could imagine, but at the same time I felt like a lot of it had to do with trusting the other person and knowing it was going to take me to a better place. I did trust her. At some point, I think she just lost faith in me, or at least began to believe I didn't have her best interests at heart.


Fast forward to now...

Looking back, and as hard as it was for me to admit/believe, I think she made a good choice based on what she had to work with. She also hadn't seen a side of my that was going to be essential for her to be truly happy, and I wasn't going to be happy until she was free to be her own woman. He was also much more in line with what she said she wanted for her life and was certainly more stable than the giant flaming question mark that defines my own existence.

Though at the time, I guess I feel like that's what defined the end of our relationship, and why it's been so hard for me to move on. I never gave up. I just kept clinging to my own aforementioned fairy tales.

My buddy Joe told me long before we broke up that "you are just too tough for the a girl as delicate as the one you are describing to me." I think he's probably right. At the time I was a lot more coarse and stubborn and demanding. She needed someone who was more tender. My heart has since softened and I feel a lot more receptive to the needs of others, and I guess that was a lot of the reason it hurt as much as it did. I felt like I kept pouring myself and trying to show I could change, but the words I kept sowing would not sprout no matter how much I worked to change . It was as if she had already made a verdict on the value of my soul. The problem is I trusted her more than I trusted myself so rather than just know I had changed I felt like I needed to prove something to myself and to her. I had self doubt that I couldn't shake.

I'm not angry. Well, I don't feel angry. But do I feel short changed. I feel like we should have had another shot.