Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Did I Break Up With Her? / What IS Love? (Part 2)

... Continued from Part 1, more or less.

Lets talk about effort. Effort was one of the great strengths of our relationship, but it turned into a great weakness. At least on my side it did.

Our first date lasted 8 hours. We sat around Davis square talking, every 5 minutes we'd check the time, and every 5 minutes, another 2 hours had passed. It was an amazing phenomenon that happened through the first two days, and possibly third. It was that amazing of a connection. We didn't have to DO anything. There's was no effort required. We'd just get together, I'd be myself, she'd be herself, and it would be amazing.

But even amazing relationships need effort if they are going to last a long time. That's my theory. I was only in one long term relationship and I never gave it any effort, so it tanked. There's a lot more to it than that of course. I mean K always meant and still means the world to me. But the actual "relationship", I just felt like whatever it was, that's what it was. It had never needed effort in the beginning, so the idea of it needing effort now, seemed like a red flag. Now, looking back, that was no red flag (indicating maybe the relationship wasn't right). It was just normal. Things don't build themselves, people get together and build things.

Looking back now, I see so many easy solutions to problems that weren't even problems. But while it was going on, I was in a situation I had never been in before. I didn't really know what it was, until it was over and I was able to look back at it.

There were other small things in the relationship that, as it progressed, certainly could have used a little effort. At the time, it was like any effort whatsoever was a harbinger of doom for the relationship. Now looking back, we just need to work at it a little. Very little. We were the match of matches. We had basically everything in common.

So to summarize why I broke up with my girlfriend:

  • The relationship was old enough that it was starting to require effort. I mistook that as an indicator of a relationship that was destined for failure. 
  • I truly believe that my brain had love and infatuation confused. Fading infatuation felt like fading love to me. 
  • I'd never been in a relationship that lasted this long before. From my experience, all relationships are short. Ending this relationship seemed like it's natural conclusion. 
And the opposite of that, what I've learned from all this:
  • I'm an idiot. I mean, I'm actually pretty smart at a lot of interesting things. But I couldn't hold on to the best girl the universe has for me. My goal in life is to get her back, somehow.
  • That warm fuzzy feeling I felt towards K is love. It's the best feeling in the world. Knowing she's always there for you. Knowing if she ever needs you, you're right there for her. Her beautiful face and smile that lights up my whole world. Her super smoking hot body :) The so many common interest that we share. Her kindness as a person, her abundance of empathy towards people, animals, inanimate objects, really the entire world around her. 
  • What did I want out of this relationship? I didn't really want anything out of it. We got in it, I enjoyed it, and so I stayed in it and it was good, and that was that. I didn't really have any long term goals. I hasn't been in a relationship in so long, and never one that lasted even 6 months. So these types of questions never occurred to me. Now, with everything I've been through, what would I want from a second relationship with K? Everything. I love her, I want her to fall in love with me, I want to put in every bit of effort I can muster, to make this hypothetical second relationship, one that lasts forever. 

I saw a quote from Dr Suess on the internet today. Turns out he was just re-quoting. But it made me smile and think "SEE, we were in love!"

"We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Did I Break Up With Her? / What IS Love? (Part 1)

From a purely logical point of view, I feel like the one best piece of information that would help me get K back, would be a sound, clear, reasonable explanation of why we broke up (I broke up with her but she was in agreement by then). And also a clear explanation of why I think a second round would be completely fundamentally different. Different from the ground up.

So lets start at the beginning. I know, hows about a graphic.

This chart represents my 33.5 years of existence. The red portions represent the time I've spend in relationships. The time K and I were together, was longer than all previous relationships combined. The reason I point this out, is to point out just how inexperienced I was at that 5th month of being in a relationship. And of course, all months after that. 

Moving on from there, lets talk about love for a little bit. Most people have been in love. My biggest love was a girl named D. I was in 8th grade and I fell in love with her. All through high school, I loved her like I had never loved anyone before. She never knew it though, I was always too shy to talk to her.  So that was the big love of my life, "the one", the one that got away, etc etc. 

So what is love? How do you know when you're in love? The answer is always the same: "Oh you'll just know, you won't have to ask." "You'll know it through and through". 
That may be ver true for most people. But isn't it possible that certain people, that have certain unusual histories with love, might not have it quite so cut and dry? Spoiler alert: yes.

So why did I break up with K?
Let me assemble all the pieces that made it happen:
My brain recognized love as the feeling a teenager has to a girl that he has never spoken to. 
I had no idea what a 1 year long relationship was supposed to be like. I've never been in one. 
To me, all relationships seem like they are going to be short-lived, just by default.
And perhaps worst of all, I had a long time family friend, that I had that stupid teenage infatuation for. 

So my brain is telling me, "you don't love K, you love A. Forget common sense, that's useless."
And my brain is telling me, "how long can this relationship with K possibly last? It's past 6 months, it's gotta end sometime."

While I always treated K like the most important person in my life, I thought I had to 'wind things down'. And so for months, I was very standoffish, but only romantically. We had very little sex those last few months. I was just running out the clock, because my brain was telling me I was wrong. My brain was using bad data to make it's decision.

While I was still with K, and thinking about what I should do, I talked to my friend L. I said to L, that I think I should break up with K. And maybe try to start something with A. But even if I don't do that, if the relationship with K isn't right, then I should end it anyway. But then, I said something that, if my life were a movie, they would have played some seriously dramatic, ominous music.

I said to L, "What if I'm making  a huge mistake. What if what I feel for K is love. What if I just don't have the life experience to recognize that. And what if what I feel towards A is just stupid childhood infatuation, and can't tell the difference." If only I had said this to more people, not just L. But I didn't because A is a family friend, and I was keeping my feelings for her a complete secret. So I couldn't talk about breaking up with K, because it would not make any sense without me having to tell you about A. So I didn't get a lot of 3rd party input. This was one of my big mistakes. Because my worry above is, as you are reading in this post, SPOT on. And if enough people tried to talk some sense into me, maybe one of them might have succeeded. 

In other conversations about breaking up with K, that I had with L, I remember trying to think of reasons. Why do I want to break up with her. What does she do that bothers me. What is the down side of this relationship. Why do I really want to do this (without the value of hindsight). There were none. She was the perfect girlfriend for me and an absolutely amazing, smart, beautiful woman. Did I mention she's a PhD. There were no downsides. 

So based on this terrible information, and this terrible reasons, I came to the conclusion that I had to break up with K. But she seemed to be in love with me, though we had never shared those words with each other. I didn't want to blind side her. So that's when I started winding things down. What she referred to as "things fizzled between us". In trying to get her back, I tried so hard to explain that things didn't fizzle, I ruined them, because I didn't know what I was doing. So in trying to break up "gently", I ended up doing things in such a way that make it nearly impossible to undo them. 

So what is love? How do I know I'm in love now if I didn't before. Don't I just want what I can't have?
Being without K was exactly what I need to allow me to understand how I feel towards her. Being without her showed me that what I want most in life, is simply to be with her. I loved getting delicious sandwiches and eating them in her little kitchen. I loved snuggling up and watching ST:DS9 on her couch. Most of all I loved always having someone to talk to, someone to confide in. Someone who would confide in you. I knew I was a better person, and my life was a better life, when I was with her. But I didn't see just how big an effect this was, until it was gone. Love is not "oh my god that girl was so hot, i'm in love". Love is "here I got you a cute (stuffed) pet alligator because watching your face light up, lights up my soul" Love is a girl you look fondly at while thinking, I could be with this girl forever". That's a thought that never occurred to me during the time we dated. Now it's all I think of. K was exactly the person I've been looking for my whole life. I just wasn't able to recognize it until I killed it. I have no doubt that I am in love with her. Maybe my logical brain stops me from exercising my love in as many foolish, ridiculous ways as the average person might. But if there's one thing that's clear to me now. It's that I broke up with K because I didn't understand how I felt about her. Once I lost her, my feelings for her became crystal clear, that I am deeply in love with her.

K, being a scientist, would probably appreciate the scientific method here. Date a girl, really like her. Do you really, really like her? Un-date her and see how you feel, then re-date her. Now you've verified your results. This if course wasn't what I was doing, but it is a little ironic.

Lets talk about what a breakup is. In my breakup letter, I told her I still wanted to be her best friend, I still wanted to hang out all the time, I didn't want anything to change, except, essentially, our relationship status on facebook. When I think about what I actually wanted our breakup to be, and how incompatible that is with her dating someone else, it makes me think, did I really want to break up with her at all? Maybe the previous paragraph was my plan after all. Maybe I did just want to slow things down for a bit. 

See Part 2 for more on this topic...

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Introduction

I'm J. I met K on an online dating website. We instantly hit it off. Shortly thereafter we met in person, and instantly hit it off. Before you know it, we were a couple. It was truly amazing. This girl was everything I could ever have asked for, plus so much more than I could have ever known to want. She instantly changed my life for the better. And I'd like to think I added a lot to her life too.

I have never had a relationship last beyond 3 months. This one effortlessly sailed past 3, and on to 6. This was a personal goal I had, that my next relationship should last 6 months. Even if it felt like it should end earlier, I should stick it out for at least 6 months. But I wasn't "sticking out" this relationship, it was amazing. I never have a personal connection with anyone in my life, like I had with K. She would smile and light up my soul.

The second 6 months of our relationship didn't go so well. I started to feel like something was missing, even though I didn't know what it was. I started to feel like I must not really be in love, because I don't feel like you're "supposed" to feel. I started to think that, if this was all true, then I should probably break up with K. Every time K saw me, her eyes would light up, like I was making her whole day just by walking in the door. So I started acting more and more standoffish. But only romantically. I was still kind and attentive, we still did things together. But I felt like I was being a dick when we had sex, knowing I was going to end it. So the sex all but dried up (pun).

This was a slow process of what I see now as sabotage, that lasted months. The idea of breaking up with her got a life of it's own. It became this huge burden that I had to take care of. So finally, about 11 months in, and after months of being romantically distant and dry, I sent her the breakup email.

I sent it to her right before her trip home to see her family. I didn't want to ruin her trip, but I knew that if I was being dumped, I'd want to be around family to help me. And she didn't have that support here.

And the email detailed how I thought I felt at the time. Which was that I wanted to remain her best friend more than anything. And we did remain friends. As soon as she got back home, we picked up right back where we left off. We no longer kissed, or had sex. But it was otherwise the same. We hung out just as much, did things together, snuggled on the couch. Breaking up made me feel free, and the only way I wanted to celebrate my freedom was by spending time with K. Looking back now, that's a big indicator that maybe I wasn't properly understand how I really felt.

So things maintained, and it was like we were still together. And I thought at this point, that everything was as it should be.

Then, shortly after this, K started dating. She quickly went from dating, to dating regularly, to having a boyfriend. This is where I break down and fall apart. This is where I realize that the only thing mission in our relationship, was passion from me for the girl I had loved. More on that realization in another post. But I quickly realized during this process, that I love K, that I want nothing more in life, than to be with K. I wrote her a very long email, and we talked about things in person, and video chatting.

She listened to everything I said, agree that every point I made was a good, logical point. But at the end of the day, she felt that our relationship started great, but started to fizzle. She wouldn't say if she was in love with me or not in the beginning of our relationship, but she said she wasn't at the end. She was not willing to break up with her new boyfriend and give us a second chance, because she felt that a second chance would change anything between us. I strongly disagree with that, and that's what I want to prove to her some day, with that second chance.

So now where at the point in the story where I'm in a deep depression, the likes of which I have never experienced before, through all the sadness and tragedy I've seen in my life, nothing has ever felt like this. I took what turned out to be a pretty pointless trip to the emergency room. Later my doctor gave me Celexa and Ativan. It's been about a month since I've been on these pills. I'm trying to use the Ativan as little as possible. And I tried weening off the Celexa but I think it's a bit too soon.

As for me and K. During our relationship, we were both AIM users. Once she started seeing someone else, I would always know exactly when they were together, since she would be offline. That was a bit of torture. So I ended up suggesting we get off each other's buddy lists, and lets just email each other, like penpals. I want to try to preserve that special relationship we had. Some days she sends me a nice email, and I feel great, and on top of the world. Some days she's with her bf all day, and I don't get an email. And I feel extremely terrible. Some people have told me to keep trying to get her back and don't give up. Some people have told me to break off all contact and forget about her as fast as I can.

Every action I'm taking is based on the premise that I need to do whatever I possibly can, to get her back. Without hope that one day I'll be able to win her heart again, I don't know what I'd do.

I know very little about their relationship, because the more I know, the more angry and anxious it will make me. So they may be halfway through a short relationship that is turning out to not be a good fit. Or they my be a perfect match and in it for the long haul.

What kills me most of all, is that I had her. I fully had it within my power to put in tons more effort than I did into the relationship, to show her and remind her how much I cared. And instead, I let the whole thing wither and die, because I wasn't sure I felt the way I was supposed to feel.