How To Get Dumped Twice By the Same Guy In Two Weeks (without developing a drinking habit)
Disclaimer: In order to protect the already questionable emotional stability of this blog post's subject, names and timeframes have been changed. However, being channeling a more Liz Gilbert side of my creative soul (rather than an angry T-Swift) I forewarned him of this inevitable post and even let him choose his alias: Deon James. I explained there was no way in hell I'd be typing that all out every time I referred to him, and explained we'd be shortening it to DJ.
I've written about bad car accidents, borderline exercise addictions/eating disorders, poop, fake eyelashes and ripping my pants with ease, but when it comes to the topic of romantic relationships ending that topic has always felt too close to home to be transparent about. Until now.
I made a promise to myself, and to you, that there would never be anything too personal or too hard to write about. Be the Bravest is all about Jesus, challenging stereotypes and mindsets, going for it in every area of life and laughing at myself along the way as I figure it out -- which I'm convinced is the only way to fully engage with life and make it out unharmed. If I want to create a culture of vulnerability and acceptance that needs to start with me.
So here it is -- the very first BTB post explicitly about a break up. Spoiler alert: I get dumped.
DJ and I met and it was instant chemistry. Our first date was for ice cream at a hole-in-the-wall place in B-town and when we realized the only day we could possibly hang out that week due to conflicting schedules was the following day, he asked me for dinner the next night because "He didn't want to wait until the weekend to see me again." I know, I know, my heart melted too. Things were great, and to this day I can't say a single bad thing about him as an individual. He was 5 years older than me, which was a nice change from other guys I've dated who really didn't have their shit together and just thought I was pretty. After my last relationship prior to DJ, I promised myself I wouldn't be any guy's mom/babysitter/counselor again.
He was awesome: kind, stable, generous, ambitious, friendly, outgoing and had a dislike for animals which matched mine perfectly. He was so shredded I'm pretty sure I could have fit my entire side of my hand in-between the abdominal muscle definition on his bod if I tried. It was a nice change of pace to date someone who a) seemed to have his life together and b) had enough maturity to not try to just get in my pants. I'd give him two thumbs up for first impressions of character if I had them.
In no way were either of us perfect, and I could spot that from the beginning: He loved Pitbull, buffalo sauce, and wasn't a fan of wine which made my little Bon Iver -loving, inner-foodie and South African heart ache. I'm opinionated, impatient and at times overly sarcastic, which I'm pretty sure his little Wisconsin background wasn't sure what to do with.
Eventually, we got into a fight as any couple will. I voiced legitimate concerns at an inappropriate time and he went from "I want to work on this when I get home" to breaking up with me via text message while he was out with his friends at a bar. Nice, DJ.
We had the tough conversations and ended with DJ apologizing profusely for calling it off so suddenly and saying "I really care about you, I feel like I know you and so much better now, I feel so much closer to you and I am really glad we're working on things."
The rest of the week flew by and we had the best weekend together, and I had that statement reiterated to me on multiple occasions over the next few days. Monday night, after he'd spent all day at work and his evening previous to calling me at the gym, he phoned and was pretty short tempered. He asked me if we could get together to talk, and seeing as it was 9:30 PM, I knew what was about to happen.
To this day, he still can't give me a legitimate reason for why he went from "Meet my parents in three weeks" to "Peace, homie," in less than 24 hours with no fight and no time to legitimately think through things. As I walked into my house, I was in shock. I couldn't really process how someone who seemed so stable was driven was controlled by knee jerk, emotional reactions. I ended up counseling him through his quarter life, identity crisis after he dumped me for the second time in one week. Classic.
I'd go as far as to say this was a tougher breakup than my really serious relationship, primarily because there wasn't a cause behind it. Like, honestly, I was a hot mess. All I wanted to do was drink wine and cry while listening to Damien Rice (I mean come on, the guy could make the happiest person in the world need a psych eval). I was embarrassed because I'd never actually been dumped before. I was confused because after three hours of counseling him I was left with no answers as to why our seemingly perfect relationship had ended. I was sad because I really, truly cared about him. Honestly though, I was pretty ticked because I'm a catch, and he's not dumb, so he should have seen that.
Break-ups suck.. I usually look for the silver lining or the personal development lesson in tough situations, but there really wasn't one here. However, I'm still going to jokes about it and use it to help other people. So, I developed a perfect a plan of attack for getting over an unfair break up:
1. Understand it's ACTUALLY him, not you: Reasonable breakups happen -- and they suck -- but this wasn't a reasonable breakup. Whether someone meets someone else, there's a lot of fighting, it's an LDR and it's simply not working...those breakups teach us lessons on what to look for in a partner that better suits our lifestyle. However, if there's no legitimate reason for a break up, you have to conclude that it's actually not you, it's them.
Understanding this has helped me to be a lot less angry and I actually feel pretty bad for DJ because he's a great guy, he's just super emotional and irrational sometimes. Understanding this has also helped me to forgive which is the hardest part of a breakup like this -- it wasn't fair, it never will be, and you have to move forward with no resolution all while not holding a grudge. Yeah, being the bigger person is tough.
2. Recognize it's not worth it: It's wired into my DNA to always believe that people can grow and change. If I had to stay the way I was five years ago I would have despised my life. I'm a completely different person because of the personal development work I did, and the supernatural work that Jesus did in my heart. Because of this, I have to believe that this can happen for anyone willing.
I hate giving up on people, especially when I really care about them and have invested a lot into them. At the end of the day, healthy relationships are built on two people who work on themselves and the relationship to make things healthy, and clearly that wasn't in happening on his end in either regard.
3. Acknowledge it could always be worse: A good dose of reality TV usually does this for me. I may have just been dumped twice in a week, but at least I wasn't ugly crying on national television because I can't believe that my boyfriend has twenty other girlfriends...even though thats what I signed up for. The Bachelor = self-confidence boost of note. Seriously though, as much as this sucked I still had a job that pays me well to help other people, a best friend who I'm not even sure is human because she's so lovely, friends who believe in me and encourage me, an amazing church and a healthy body.
4. Remember where your confidence actually comes from: My parents raised one heck of a confident child -- I think it stems from having to put bratty 7 year olds in their place when they'd tease me about my arm. They gave me the greatest comeback in the world "God MADE me special." Seriously, who's going to come up with something against that? However when personal relationships fail -- and no explanation or resolution is offered -- it gets easy to think "What's wrong with me?" Nothing.
There was nothing wrong with me in this situation -- DJ even said so. By no means am I perfect, but as long as I know I'm willing to work on bad habits there's no place for putting myself down. I know at the end of the day, I really like who God made me to be, and anyone who doesn't agree can kiss my yoga toned booty. This isn't cocky, or prideful, this is just acknowledging the fact that God only makes good things -- and if we're living out who he's made us to be -- that especially includes us.
5. Move on: It's the hardest part, but just do it (nike).
- Go out with your girlfriends (nothing helps speed things up like a cocktail and red lipstick).
- Delete his number (to avoid any embarrassing messages from my previous point).
- Spend tons of time at the gym (nothing says "you effed up" like a six pack).
- Invest in yourself. (pedicures and podcasts can change your life, just make sure you wear a sticker that says "Don't ask me 'Why I no have boyfriend' when you go -- that wasn't a fun conversation).
- Force yourself to accept other invitations to go on dates (face it -- he dumped you, you're single, you're awesome, let someone else appreciate you).
Allow yourself one week to cry and be sad, but after as PG-13 Elsa would say, "let that shit go."