I can’t tell if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or just a good policy

by maddrunkgenius

I know I’m too old now to give a shit about what exes think of me, but the truth is none of them like me and most of them despise me.

My most recent serious girlfriend and I lived together for about two years in a three year relationship before she had a mental breakdown and thought god was speaking to her. She thought she was hearing an important word, but when she was unemployed and needed me to walk her through the city to counseling or errands on my day off from work, she told me that everything in her life was complete shit except for us. By then I thought that was pretty shitty, too, and was already trying to figure out how to break up with her and move out without hurting her any.

As you do.

We lived together in a one-bedroom apartment for a year, and when it came time for the lease to renew, I told her I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t commit to spending another year with a person in a space so small that I used to lie about when I was getting off work just to spend an extra hour and a half at a bar alone where I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone, but especially not with her.

I was awful. I abandoned her in smalls ways before the big, but I did my best to take care of her, to help her get a job, get registered to go back to school, get her to counseling. She was the only person I never cheated on, and never tried. In the end it didn’t matter because she still thought I betrayed her and ruined her life by making her homeless without warning.

Betrayal is experienced as much as chosen. So I did betray her, but she wasn’t homeless. She moved in with her sister, who was married but had a spare room. it upended her life, but she didn’t land on her head.

I got on better with her family than I did with my own. Birthdays, minor holidays, the whole bit. They were good people. I never saw them again after she and I moved out, and at the time, I didn’t even want our relationship to end. I just couldn’t be the person she relied on for so many parts of her life. (You love someone with an illness till they actually ill, see.) When we moved apart, she told me the one thing she didn’t want me to do was go and fuck someone that she knew. This was impossible because I didn’t know anyone she didn’t already, but I don’t think she listened to me when I said that. Anyway, you can’t take backward steps in a relationship after you’ve already been some place together.

Later, she had some sort of (possibly clinical) paranoid delusion that I was in a pentagram-shaped polyamorous relationship involving several of her close friends and co-workers. And either subsequent to that or prior to it, she started secretly fucking a dude I’d moved in with, who was also her boss, I think because she thought it was the worst thing she could do to me. I didn’t find out till months later when she’d quit her job but gotten him fired first. So maybe it was the worst thing. It’s been hard to trust all of the people who chose the two of them over me, because I only learned of it from another person’s grudge against her, not for my sake or friendship proper. So really, no one who knew us both ever cared for me.

I wanted to trust her while we were together, at least as much as she trusted me, but I never could because I was afraid that when our relationship ended, she would use whatever ammunition I gave her to get revenge on me. So I didn’t trust her and gave her no such ammunition.

You’re always dating your ex‘ I keep telling myself—and behave accordingly.

And I can’t tell if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or just a good policy.

The other day, after more than a year of no communication at all, she sent me a message via Gchat of all things.

The first burst was all about some photos of us she still had that she didn’t want anymore but wanted to send to me. Something about stroking my ego.

The second was just to tell me that she’d been pregnant multiple times while we were together.

I had an … well, a few abortions, I didn’t tell you about. I didn’t think you were mature enough to hold my hand and laugh.
I didn’t respond to either of these because it was late in the night, and I assumed she was just drunk and lonely, the way people tend to get, especially when going through old things and feelings nostalgic.
The abortions I figured just as well weren’t true and were fishing for a response of some kind more than anything. What do you even say to that sort of roundabout belated accusation? So I didn’t say anything.
But a few days later, another burst came, with more Good Old Days images.

Oh. By the way if you try to share these images I have an attorney. You get to pay me for it.

Give me an address for her to send her info to.

Also. I think these are really great photos. “It’s all I ever wanted” type.

I’d ask how you are but I’m guessing you’re you.

I need to send you stuff. I know you spend more time checking media than you breathe. So let me know. Or I’m guessing you’ve forgotten you want it.

Again, it was late enough at night that I only saw it the next day, and really, I didn’t have an inclination to respond or try to figure out what to respond to.

It’s been the strangest thing in the (god!) nearly two years since stopped living together, year and half since pretense of civility dropped away.  When I’ve tried to describe the thing in whole to other people, I feel the need to add the disclaimer at the end, ‘But there were also good times!’

And I hate that. It was a good relationship. I was very happy during most all of it. We shared many wonderful things, and I loved her terribly. Her successes made me happy. Her happiness made me happy. I just wasn’t good enough to be the things that she needed as she needed them.

An analytical part of me goes to work trying to figure out whether I’m just trying to gain sympathy in how I frame events, whether I’m making myself out to be better, whether it matters that I do. But I’m inside the system I’m trying to figure out, so I can’t get anywhere.

Without guile, I want to be able to look back on all of the private jokes and tender moments and gifts and even shared television shows as something worthwhile in its time. But I don’t think it works in only one direction.

And if affects my present, my ability to enjoy present moments without assuming they’ll be stored up and soured into spite for later. Maybe that’s the answer on the other end. I seem very pleasant and happy and then one day, I’m not anymore. How can you trust anyone again when they spring on you that they don’t want to be with you anymore, or at least not as close?

What I want is, on my own terms, to be able to say, ‘Well this was nice,’ and have the other person just go along with it pleasantly so I can exit smoothly. But I think I make lives worse for being in them than better or even, all things considered.

My first serious partner started fucking my best friend at the time directly after. The next partner and I were on good terms at first, but she grew to hate me, I think because she got to know my next partner after that one and I broke up. Now that second partner is married and pregnant, and I assume thinks nothing of me whatsoever now. The third has stopped hating me, found love, and doesn’t think about me. The fourth and fifth intermittently still drunkenly reach out to me, now fondly, I suppose. I don’t think despite ever crept into it, and I moved away to put distance between thoughts of rekindling. The sixth, this all has been about, and the seventh I’m happily in the middle of, as much because we enjoy each other’s company so much as that I’m able to enjoy anyone else’s company as I care to. And therefore I find myself not strongly feeling the need to enjoy other’s company or relations.

Seven is a special number.

But I thought things were good before, and instead it’s all come to this, random aggressive messages in the nite I don’t at all want to engage with because I know no good can come of it.

So I fret that’s all anything can ever come to.