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contemplating things (i guess?): a long-overdue update on my “single-again”ness

I don’t know how to start writing again. I’ve felt the passing of time without blog updates with no small amount of frustration and guilt. I like writing. I like noticing little moments in Hanoi and commenting on them, reflecting on the beauty and craziness, uploading a recipe, whatever.

But I haven’t known how to write without addressing the fact that Andrew’s gone, flew back to America less than a week after we ended things. Should I write on, not covering this big life-detail, instead describing the wonders of mangosteen season or Hanoi’s recent acquisition of a Domino’s Pizza? That seems dishonest, if this is in any way supposed to be a “what are you spending your time doing/thinking, at the moment?” sort of space. I’ve written 10 or so introductions to a blog entry, only to leave them off as they get complicated, detailed, and not a little bit sad.

Life is supposed to be about growth, right? About developing as a person and a partner, about learning, about becoming the person you want to be? Here’s what I’ve found that I’ve learned, from the past few months…though the only growth it feels like I’ve managed is the walls we built to shield ourselves from further hurt.

Lesson:
The promises we make each other at the beginning of a relationship should be regarded with skepticism, if only because falling in love inevitably involves the best of intentions. There’s no pragmatic awareness possible of the likelihood of disappointment and pain, at least not until you’ve accumulated enough failed relationships to become jaded/guarded about any possibility in the first place.

And that’s where I am now. When it was over…I had no tears left. I moved to a new flat in a new neighborhood, cut my hair, drank a fair amount of wine and did a fair amount of yoga. I’ve made a few new friends. I’ve laughed and stayed out late, I’ve had deep conversations with interesting people. I haven’t been depressed or even particularly angry…but something is different.

Behind (beneath?) all the “ok”ness is an awareness of sorts that is new to me.

Andrew is one of the kindest, gentlest, silliest-in-the-right-moment, most interesting people I’ve ever met. Even knowing that he may read this, and not really wanting to pay him any more compliments…this is true. He’s incredibly intelligent and sensitive and I spent almost three years thinking he was the most wonderful thing in the world. And so what does it mean, exactly, when a person loves you and wants nothing but the best for you and then breaks your heart in a way that validates a lot of your worst feelings and fears.

It means we all make mistakes. Of course.

It in no way means that he’s a bad person…he’s just a person. Anyone (even the good, kind, smart ones) can cause pain. They can let their own demons – and we all have them – get in the way of caring for the person they love.  They can be cowardly in moments when they should be brave; they can break hearts they promised to protect.

Because this mess is what it is to be human…a fact I find so incredibly disheartening.

He called it melodramatic when I told him – calmly – that we wouldn’t, couldn’t be friends…in the future. There will come a time when the wounds have healed and the sadness has faded, for sure…I’m barely angry now. The thing I couldn’t quite explain…back when we were speaking…is that now, in my life, he will always be the man who made me realize that anyone you let in can hurt you. Even the sweet, sensitive, intelligent ones with whom you very much hoped to spend your life.

or my gorgeous new neighborhood!

or my gorgeous new neighborhood!

___

I promise the next one will be about mangosteens, or something equally wonderful.

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5 replies »

  1. I truly understand your comment about building walls. Just leave a ladder nearby in case someone dares to scale one!

  2. “Like” doesn’t seem like the right response to this post. Thank you for sharing it so bravely. The right person is out there who will be worthy of your trust and love!

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And then on one of those long days when I'm tired and reallllllly not in the mood to go home and read 16 essays, I get a text reminder of why I love this job. .
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#vietnam #hanoi #selfemployed #collegecounseling
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