Break-Up

It’s so hard to find someone who cares about you.

I heard that on the radio as I was coming home (from the song Someone Who Cares by the band Three Days Grace), and right now, that really feels true.

It’s been almost a year since my last entry, and a lot has changed. I started a job in the social work field doing something called wraparound, and boy is it intense. But the really big one, the one I’m talking about here, is that I was in a relationship.

It started in January, and I think things had been slowly building to that for a while; we were friends, but she knew I wanted to be more, so we started dating. And I really threw myself into it; I was the best boyfriend I could think to be. I cooked for her, bought her little gifts, drove across town to drop off emergency chocolate for her at work, listened to her when she was having troubles, spent as much time as I could with her. It was a slow build-up, but I was happy with her, even joyful, and it lasted for months, and felt like it could have lasted for years.

As you might have guessed from the title of this entry, it was not a happy ending. A few weeks ago when I was asking her where she saw us going, I got a very blunt answer: nowhere. While I had fallen deeply, crazily in love with her – to the point that I was making long-term plans and even considering uprooting my life for her – she had come to the conclusion that she felt nothing for me. I was someone who was occasionally fun to do things with, but nothing more.

As I’m certain I’ve discussed here before, I’ve struggled with issues of self-confidence, of feeling worthless and unlovable. And so to be told by someone I loved deeply that not even a tiny portion of that was reflected in her… well, it wrecked me. It’s been a little over three weeks, and I still don’t know what to do with this feeling of emptiness. I feel like having put so much of myself into this relationship, to have tried so hard and done so much only to be told it was worth nothing made me feel like I was worth nothing.

Rationally, I know that’s not true; I’m valued at my job, and I know my friends like having me around. But emotionally… well, it’s not hyperbole to say I wish she would have stabbed me rather than tell me that. At least with stabbing, there are guidelines for what to do, how long it takes to recover, painkillers to dull the pain. But no painkillers numb that emotional wound. Nobody can tell me how long recovery will take -and bear in mind, this was my first serious relationship (yes, at 38; I’m a really bad introvert, and my depression made me even worse at doing things to start relationships earlier in life). I don’t have much to compare it to, and nothing to look back on and say that it’ll get better in x amount of time.

I don’t form deep emotional connections easily. I’m pretty empathetic, which is a boon to me in my job, but deep connections take time, and I don’t risk them often. But when I do, I don’t hold back, I go all the way. And here and now, it’s not served me well. I feel hollow. I described it the other day as that feeling you get when you think you’ve forgotten something in another room, and then you go to find it and can’t remember what you were looking for – but that feeling, all the time. Like something is missing.

Something is, of course – my relationship. The person I loved. Who was one of my closest friends. Now I can’t bring myself to speak with her, because it’s so painful – just one text from her a little over a week and a half ago sent me halfway into a panic attack. So much doesn’t feel like it makes sense anymore – was I just too blind to see that she didn’t care? Did I do something wrong? Is what I have to offer in a relationship really as worthless as it feels right now?

My head is a mess of emotions- sadness, anger, bitterness, guilt, shame. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to start feeling better. To start feeling like maybe at some point I can think of myself as someone who can actually reach out to another person in a relationship kind of way, like I have something to offer besides misery. I could probably keep going with this for some length, but I think it would devolve into a sad, pathetic exercise, a bitter screed, or something even less palatable. So, I’ll end it with this: like the song I started this entry with says:

Why is it so hard to find someone
Who can keep it together
When you’ve come undone?
Why is it so hard to find someone
Who cares about you?

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