Twice in the past month I’ve almost run into the Ex. He is still employed by a company I occasionally work for. Both times it was when I was driving, dropping off rental equipment, and, if I had lagged at the rental house for but a few minutes, we would have interacted.
It’s been two years since I broke up with him. Two years since he drove his mother, in my car, with me in the back seat, to our shared apartment in hopes that she would live with us. Two years since, after I hurriedly drove away from our home, I sat in my car, the same car I own now, sobbing, screaming, crying, not knowing what to do. Two years since that horrible conversation outside in the parking lot. Two years since I gave back his necklace. Two years.
Fuck, how my life has changed.
When I think back on who I was then, who I was with him, I am both sad and relieved. I spent three and a half years of my life, some of which you can read about on this very blog, waiting for a man to change. Waiting for him to make good on the hints he would drop. Waiting for him to commit to me as much as I had committed to him. Waiting for three words I never got.
I can’t hate him. I still care about him, though I would never seek out anything from him and pretty much avoid him at all costs. It wasn’t that he was a horrible man; if he were I would not have stayed so long. And though at first glance he came off as hard, stern, a bit scary, he was mostly sweet and caring towards me. Of course except when he wasn’t. I can’t lie; I liked the moments when he dominated me.
No, I’m not sad about the relationship. It was what we never achieved together that saddens me. It was how he didn’t change, didn’t grow, that truly makes me want to cry. He was a manchild, from the beginning of our interactions til the end. And though I was far younger than he, I often felt like the adult in the relationship.
I had plans, goals for us. In the end, it seemed like he would be content to just stay as we were: cohabiting, but with no compass to guide us; emotionally choked off, not willing to talk about his feelings and therefore implicitly asking for my silence; me always wanting more and he never seeming to care.
When I saw him recently, I noticed he had shaved his face. I never cared for that particular look. I always liked his scruffy beard, even as it got in the way when we kissed. As I passed by him in my van, he in his truck, I gave him a head nod. He returned it. There was no malice, no anger or hurt, just acknowledging the other’s presence and moving on.
It could’ve just been work, or the first hot day of the Spring, but he didn’t seem happy. His ill temper was not directed towards me. I’ve noticed in the few times I have interacted with him since the split that he reverted back to his easily annoyed persona. Like I said, manchild.
Even so, I learned a lot from my Ex. He helped me in my kink journey, teaching me as we grew together. I still remember once lying on his bed as he pulled out a book and talked to me about negotiations, the first time I’d had a formal conversation about play. He fostered my love of rope, though only from a bottom’s perspective. And when times were good, we were playful and, dare I admit it, happy.
But, good or bad, he taught me quite a bit about what I don’t want in a partner. I need emotional openness, even as I struggle within myself to achieve it alone. I need affection, the simple ability to hold someone’s hand; he was not much for PDA. I need acknowledgement of our relationship; he called me his girlfriend once. I need a partner and a friend, not “She just keeps showing up and I never kick her out.” It was cute the first time; by the sixth, I just wanted to scream.
All that aside, whatever his life has been in the past two years, I hope he has lived it well and found room to grow.
With this blog as a testament, I know I sure have.
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