This weekend was hard. Today has been hard. Yesterday was hard. Nice people keep checking in on me and asking how I’m doing and the answer is the same: Eh.
I’m doing eh because my dumb ass finally — and just — realized that I’m still in love with The Neighbor. I thought I wasn’t. Truly. I haven’t won the war.
I thought I’d taken enough time to catch my breath and pull my big girl pants back up from my ankles and march on. I thought I had an open heart for new love. But, I don’t. Not even close.
Spending Saturday with him was so familiar, like old times, that it hit me on two fronts: one from the present and one from the past. The one from the present reminded me of what I’m missing: the sex, a future with him, his company. The one from the past reminds me that even when we were in a relationship I got no more than what I did 4 1/2 months after he dumped me, which made me sad for that old Hy. I felt trapped in a loop.
I’ve spent a lot more time with him in the last week and a half than I have in months. He came bowling with me and Peyton recently, stopped over another night to hang out for some reason, and then we were in more than usual texting contact leading up to his birthday. It’s like I have a TN Hangover: I binged on him and now I’m paying for it.
I’ve deleted all my texting threads with men and Tinder off my phone. I haven’t checked into AFF in a week because I can’t wrap my head around the idea of one more stupid fucking date. Friday burned me and I’m avoiding the kitchen.
Realizing that I’m still in love with a man who secretly-not-so-secretly withdrew from me for months and then disengaged altogether without a fight because he’d decided I wasn’t the one for him is humbling. I feel about as bright as an ant intent on her duty to get to the nest despite the river between her and it.
Ann sent me a link to a great article about being addicted to people and the highs they create in us. A friend on Instagram emailed me a link about being addicted to seduction. I keep getting little messages like pollen blown in from far away telling me to love myself and to “be content with you.”
I’m a conflation and paradox of all those things: I love the hunt, I’m seduced by the chase, yet I do love myself and am content. I don’t need to be alone, I need to get my head on straight. Being alone makes me go crazy, not because I hate myself or can’t stand me, but because the stillness of energy drains me as swiftly as removing the cork from the bottle.
So I am stuck in this breakup purgatory of being unfit for dating, but in need of contact.
Someone suggested I rely on my friends.
If only I could.
My friends are far flung and busy. Gone are the days when we move in packs and come and go with revolving doors. My friends are mothers and wives and workaholic singles. I don’t have enough people in my life to fill the many gaps in my time; it’s why I got a dog. He’s always up for an adventure or a cuddle. Also, my friends can be real shits. It happens. They have priorities and many times it’s not me reaching out to say I need them.
The men left somewhere in the orbit of my life aren’t taking up any space at the moment. I’ve switched the command to something akin to an alert system. If they put out a signal, I see them, respond, and go back to dark.
I need to figure out how to get filled up with what little contact I get in a quiet week because I can’t spare one more ounce of effort to get more. That’s how I’m going to heal: staying quiet and being open to the connections offered me and doing with less.
The other day I learned that my birthday in 1783 marked the end of the Revolutionary War. The Neighbor’s birthday happens to be on the day it began. We are bookends in history and like all stories, ours has an ending of its own. It’s time for me to figure out life after the treaty.