At the exact same time that I was typing away about how M’s big revelation didn’t change how I felt about him, he dumped me. Over WhatsApp. With not much more than a simple “I give up”. It was insulting to say the least.
Of course I wanted to get angry at him. How dare he give up on me after all the things he put me through? Believe me, there were plenty of sins. If anyone had the right to give up, it was me. But this time it was him, because I stuck up for myself and called him out on his ugly behaviour once and for all.
I thanked him for all the highs and the lows, not only because I believe in being gracious, but because I meant it. I’d learnt a lot about who I am as a person – forgiving and empathetic, if not somewhat blinded by lust – and who I didn’t want to be. I still saw good in him despite his disgusting behaviour, which veered towards downright misogynistic at the end.
Didn’t I deserve something better than a WhatsApp message? Things hadn’t always been great between us – he wasn’t a very nice person to me a lot of the time, and I’m sure he could count my flaws too – but everyone deserves something better than that. We’d tried to part ways before, each time someone coming back. Didn’t that mean anything to him?
As much as I was hurting over the weekend, I didn’t feel as if things were over for us yet. At least that’s the signal my gut instinct was giving me. I needed to get things off my chest too. Neither one of us had been truthful in what we wanted out of whatever it was we were doing, and I think that’s what contributed to all our problems in the first place. But did I want to get in contact with him this soon? Whenever I’m unsure of what direction to take, I read my horoscope. Most of the time it’s useless as a decision-maker, creating more questions than answers, and usually talking about home life and friends when you need a guiding light on finances and careers. But yesterday’s was clear as day: Rather than ruminating in the dark, spark an honest conversation about feelings … if you’re holding back, waiting for the other person to open up, this may be the cause of the standstill. Take command, Libra, and wear your heart on your sleeve.
It was a sign. I needed to say how I felt.
We’ve become so scared of being the one who cares the most that we don’t tell people how we feel. Sod that. It’s about being brave, not the outcome.
The words poured out of me. How I felt I was just another tick in a box for him, another one to add to his tally (and that really wasn’t what I wanted). How his past actions had made me reluctant to show any emotion to him. How the guy I was communicating with last week had been so different to the guy I was sitting across from on our date. Plus, I wanted to know why he cared so much if I enjoyed our date or not.
Scared of his response (if he bothered at all), I quickly turned off WiFi and 3G on my phone, and I thought of nothing else for the next 18 hours when I checked WhatsApp again. He’d replied. (I’ll always be grateful for that, because being ignored drives me crazy). But there was nothing of substance there – he didn’t deny I wasn’t just a tick in a box for him, nor did he provide me with any of the answers I wanted. It was frustrating. But my feelings are out there; I’d said my bit, I’d removed my “what if” from the equation, and it was there for him to do with it what he wanted to.
I won’t deny it, I went through moments of feeling relieved to feeling like utter crap. Had he, in a roundabout way admitted that I was another one on the checklist to him? What did he mean he wasn’t sure what to say? I tried my best not to analyse it, I didn’t want to. But as I drove home, alone with my thoughts, my brain brought all my flaws to light. As I stood in the shower, with nothing to protect me from my own thoughts, I gave voice to the self-loathing part of my brain, the bit that chips in with “I told you, you’re not good enough”. I recalled all the things I did wrong that contributed to the end of this; the way I stopped myself from going full in on the kiss, the way I stuck up for myself when I thought he was being rude. All the defence mechanisms I had put up to stop myself getting hurt in case this very thing happened. They had been my downfall I told myself. If only I had let him walk all over me, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into this.
This isn’t about me, is it? This isn’t about me not being Laura or not being good enough (because hell, I bloody am good enough). Being walked all over, that isn’t me either. I wasn’t the sole contributor in the downfall of this.
It’s about him. The way he cannot see my worth beyond a checklist. The way his misogynistic words make me defend myself, and the way they make me feel. The way we ever spoke about the way he wanted to be pleasured sexually. The way he told me what not do to and a reminder that I shouldn’t think I could start calling the shots.
I don’t know what the outcome is yet, but I don’t believe this is the last I’ll ever hear from him. It’s not over yet. They always come back, don’t they? But the main thing is: I was brave.