This is the massive post that I’ve been putting off for too long.
So, a little over 9 months ago, I broke up with MFP. As I mentioned in that previous post, it was a difficult thing to do; what made things even more difficult was the shitstorm that hit just afterwards.
See, I already had plans to hang out with Plush the next day, and I figured I might get the chance to have a listening ear from a friend. What I hadn’t counted on, however, was that within moments after I told MFP goodbye, she’d gotten in touch with Plush and told her side of things, and handed her house key over to be passed back my way — so when I met up with Plush the next day, I didn’t get an ear, I got an earful — at some point Plush asked if I wanted to talk about what had happened, and as I started describing what had happened, she cut me off and said, “I’ve already heard this from MFP, just letting you know.” Left me wondering why she’d bothered asking me to talk about it, honestly. Hurt, but not entirely deterred, I gave an extremely abbreviated version, and then got back an angry rant about what MFP felt, and how I’d hurt her, where MFP was coming from and her viewpoint on things (as filtered through Plush) and then the thing that pissed me off the most… was being told by Plush that I “needed to apologize” to MFP because “that’s not an okay way to treat somebody.” So… yeah. I was miserable, struggling with a really hard decision, and someone I thought was a friend is there telling me how I was a horrible person and needed to apologize to my ex-girlfriend for the way that I broke up with her. Well, that didn’t go very well.
Now, one thing that was a consistent problem in our relationship (me and MFP, that is) was that when there’s something wrong, when I’m overwhelmed or I have a problem with what she’s done, the first thing that I need to do is step back from the situation, get myself together emotionally, gather my thoughts, then sit down and talk about it when I’ve had the chance to put myself in a frame of mind to do so. She, on the other hand, when there’s a problem (or might potentially be a problem, or she’s imagined a problem out of thin air by overthinking everything) she needs to talk about it, that very second, right then and there, and keep talking about it until she’s satisfied with the outcome. Naturally, this was a point of conflict in itself, because I was often unable to take the space that I needed in order to be able to talk things over with her; that dynamic was one of the problems that kept repeating itself and one of the things that factored heavily into my decision to walk away. It hurt like fucking hell to come to that point, and I loved her dearly… I just couldn’t keep sacrificing myself for the sake of that relationship.
That dynamic didn’t change after I walked away, either. I tried to step back from things, but she was posting on Facebook about how there was definitely potential for us to be something still, maybe not quite what we were, but how she was super hopeful that I would be back. She reached out directly to me a couple of times to tell me that she was open to whatever possibilities there might be down the road, too. And on top of that, she called seemingly every single person that we both knew so she could have dozens of sympathetic ears — I heard from Again and Muddy (who I haven’t mentioned before, but she’s been a very dear friend for quite some time) not long after, telling me that they had received multiple phone calls from MFP, which they were uncomfortable with, especially since a) neither of them generally take voice calls, b) the calls were coming at less-than-ideal hours anyway, and c) they each felt awkward being put in a situation where she was trying to get in touch with them right after knowing that I had broken up with her, and seeing the way she was posting about the situation on Facebook (the “we’ll still be something eventually” type stuff.) Those were the only two people who reached out to me to see where I was with things. In the months that followed, when I ran into someone I knew but might not have talked with recently, or when I went out of my way to find someone that I knew, and who she might not have been as well acquainted with, I heard over and over again, “Oh, just so you know, I’ve been talking with MFP, being a friend and an ear for her, but don’t worry, I’m still cool with you.” Even 7 and 8 months later, running into good friends that I don’t see often — one friend in particular who I hadn’t seen in almost a year — mentioned that she’d gotten a call from MFP just after the breakup, a call that came in at 7 in the morning and woke her… and that she’d been an ear for my ex. I had tried sending this friend a couple of text messages, at the point where I really needed someone to talk to about the situation, and couldn’t find anyone who hadn’t already heard the whole thing from her side… so I was looking for people I wasn’t quite as frequently connected to. I didn’t get a reply to my texts, but from the sound of things it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because she’d already heard about what a horrible monster I supposedly was by that point.
I didn’t have a therapist at the time, and I was in bad shape — when I was ready to talk about things, I didn’t have anyone to turn to. I struck up conversations with strangers at the bus stop, or in coffee shops, as I generally do, and got some chance to talk a little bit about my situation with people I didn’t know… I got to chat about things a little bit with people I knew a little bit while they were working at these same coffee shops, or other places while they were on the clock, but I didn’t have anyone who I knew well to sit down and pour my heart out — MFP had done a fine job of making sure that she talked about it, that very second, right then and there, until she was satisfied with the outcome, and left me unable to take the space that I needed in order to be able to talk things over. That space was all taken up by her, and I spent a long time hurting emotionally over that.
At the beginning of February, I was way behind schedule for moving out of the old apartment I’d shared with MFP. I’d had help from The Rabbit in getting things organized and hauled out, though I’d also done plenty on my own, since there was a self-storage place (literally at the end of my street) where I had rented a unit. The Rabbit had offered, early on, to see about arranging things with the tenants in one of the properties that she owns to use some of their basement space to store my things; she insisted that it would be “helpful” because I wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of a storage unit. I thanked her, and said I’d be okay, but she kept pressuring me, kept bringing it up until I finally gave up and gave in. The storage unit I had was easy to get to — even on public transit — and something I could access any time I wanted. My initial suggestion was that we rent a U-Haul type truck and arrange one day where I could gather a bunch of friends to help haul everything out, but The Rabbit assured me that she could make things easier by using her small car with a relatively large cargo area to move things in batches. Especially after she finally got me to agree to use the private storage, she said it would make more sense that way. Nevermind that the house she was offering was at the top of a hill, or that it wasn’t anywhere near public transit and required someone with a car to get there, or that for a few months I didn’t even have a key of my own, so I had to have her specifically to drive me out there on her schedule — she was being “helpful!” Oh, and of course we had to also move all of the stuff I’d put into the storage unit right back out again.
At one point, The Rabbit asked what I thought about hiring movers, “just to take the big stuff, the heavy furniture and stuff.” I thought about it and said, “Actually, that’s a great idea!” A couple of days later, she said, “Well, maybe let’s not do that. I have a good friend who can probably help with lifting, and I know he has a couple of sons who can help, too… we could just rent a U-Haul and take that to move stuff.” I’m pretty sure I pointed out that I had suggested the U-Haul from the beginning, and said that getting movers would still be a really good idea. Turns out that sure, her friend was available to help… but one of his sons was busy, the other was out of the country, so she passed things back to me to make arrangements to get a bunch of people over on a specific day to put stuff into a U-Haul. On the day everything was supposed to happen, she finally looked at getting a truck, but they didn’t have any. The best they could get was a cargo van, which took two or three trips to get the few large items out of the apartment. Between the delays caused by first being “helped” by refusing the idea of a U-Haul, then the extra time that it took to move everything back out of the storage unit, then planning to hire movers, and then having that cancelled, and then waiting around to hear about The Rabbit‘s friend and whether he could help out, I was a few weeks behind schedule in getting out. I was also running on almost no sleep, constantly surrounded by noise and stress and going quite mad, actually. Barely coping.
In mid-February, I headed to Arizona. Lime had purchased a Greyhound ticket as a birthday gift for me to come visit her — with the thought in mind that we could have some great sex, that she could show me some of her favorite local spots, and it would be a nice birthday trip for me.
It was hell.
Figure about 16 hours on a bus with no legroom (these were the “extra room” models, but I have LONG legs.) That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that I had figured on a bit of rest once I got there to recuperate. That didn’t happen. Lime and her wife are very much “morning people,” and both up and making plenty of noise through very thin walls at the ass-crack of dawn. TV turned on and turned up, loud conversation and laughter… I barely slept. And every morning, Lime wanted to take me to a different quirky little cafe — Tucson has more than a few to choose from, and her only regret was that she couldn’t show off more of them in my few days there. I would have killed for plain old Starbucks most of the time, something predictable, familiar, the comfort of mediocre coffee in a recognizable format. Instead I was running on more stress and less sleep than usual, and dealing with someone who, quite frankly, doesn’t seem to be “all there” mentally. It wasn’t an immediate recognition, but it didn’t take long to realize that her wife wasn’t joking when she consistently apologized for Lime‘s inability to get jokes with, “She’s… slow. Don’t worry, I got it though. Clever!” One instance in particular stands out; Lime was driving me out to meet someone I had known from Facebook, a woman who had expressed mutual sexual interest and wanted to meet up since I was within a couple hours’ travel time. We were on the road, and hadn’t yet gotten to the highway, and she read out loud the sign that said “No U-turn.” I responded with “So, that’s like QRSTV-turn?” She looked at me for a minute, then said simply, “huh?” I repeated, more slowly, this time, “You said, ‘no u-turn,’ so I said ‘Q…R…S…T…*pause*…V…W…X…Y…Z…” Waiting a moment, she finally said, “Like… the alphabet, you mean?” Yeah. I mentally repeated to myself her wife’s apology… she’s slow. She’s slow. Don’t worry, she’s just kinda slow.
The one time we did try fucking, I had made sure to latch the door — they had a couple of cats, and since I’m allergic they were kept out of the room I was staying in for the duration of my visit. Didn’t want cats on the bed while we were having sex! As we started getting into it, right as Lime began to get especially noisy (which she does when she’s enjoying sex, it’s kinda cute really…) I heard the door click open. I paused, looked over in confusion, and saw an eye peeking through the door… then her wife slowly opened the door and walked in. Being walked in on isn’t necessarily a problem, but I kinda figured there would be some sort of “oops! sorry! I’ll let you two alone…” Instead, she wandered in, looked around, walked to the other side of the bed, stood for a few moments, then walked back to the door, hovered around for a few moments more, and then said, “oh, um… yeah…bye now.” and walked out again. I had pretty much lost whatever arousal I’d had going, but finished getting Lime off with my hands. When she was done, she asked me excitedly, “So, what did you think? How was it being walked in on?!” When I told her that I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it, she pressed again, “Well, was it positive, neutral, or negative?” Each of those words was accompanied by a hand gesture, thumbs-up, thumbs-middle, thumbs-down. I repeated that I wasn’t quite certain about my emotional response to the situation, and I thought to myself that the whole thing was a little bit weird, that there was something “off” about it. Then she gushed to me about how she thought it was “really super hot, especially with the whole taboo aspect of the thing, it was a huge turn-on!” It still smelled kinda fishy to me, but I left it alone for the time. It honestly felt like a set-up situation for her to live out a fantasy, and I hadn’t been involved in the process… especially with the “customer satisfaction survey” at the end. I did try asking her the next day if it was really an accident that her wife had walked in, and she told me it was. I still have my doubts.
I came once during my trip there, and that was in large part to a little “happy birthday” photo sent to me by a wonderful long-distance friend, a bit of “inspiration” to brighten my day. I sent back a “thank you” photo of the good use her gift had gone to.
Because I was so far behind schedule in getting moved out, I wasn’t even finished with getting the last few things packed into storage. The Rabbit did that for me while I was in Tucson, which meant that I was denied the chance to say the goodbye to that house that I needed. I live many things in my life by the Paul Williams song “A Little Bit Of Love” — and the first line always hits me hard in the feels: “She’s the kind who says goodbye to houses when she’s leaving them for good.” It’s something that I had done long before I heard that song, and it’s important to me. I still found a way to say my goodbyes, but in a significantly lesser manner than I really needed, and I was rushing off to the nightmare of a birthday ahead of me.
Lime had discussed the Greyhound being cheap enough that she could afford to send me out to visit both for my birthday and for Spring Break — by the end of my birthday trip she had cancelled any plans of another trip… which was just fine by me. She had planned to travel up to the Bay Area, since she has family near here, and talked about maybe having some fun in bed while she was up here, instead of in her bed in Arizona. She also had been helping to support me financially for a number of months, and then shortly after my visit she told me that she was going to have to start paying tuition for her niece and nephew to go to preschool and kindergarten. I wasn’t aware that kindergarten required tuition fees, but between the two of them it was apparently about $100 a month. Or she could have been using that as a convenient excuse to stop supporting me financially, which wouldn’t surprise me. Either way, I wasn’t interested in hanging onto someone I didn’t much like just for the money.
Which is also what happened with Plush, actually. After her initial rant about how horribly I had treated MFP, and all the reasons and justifications for MFPs side of things and the very clear “you have to apologize!” things had been rather tense — there were a few other things that I had been uncomfortable with about interacting with her, including the fact that she would often say cruel things, throwing insults at me and then telling me that she was “teasing” and that I needed to “relax about it.” She pointed out more than a few times that everybody else that she spent time around understood it, and was cool about it — well, everyone except her parents, and that was a whole different frustration, apparently. Plush had also been supporting me financially, and I was struggling with the issue of knowing that there was no way I could hope to find a place to live without a little bit more dependable income than I had, but at the same time not wanting to have to keep pretending to be someone I’m not for her sake. She was one of the “always angry” people who could not let go of her fury at the injustice of the world, could not enjoy anything without ranting about how it was broken and how upset it made her that things weren’t a perfect world. She saved me the trouble, because she wanted to meet up for dinner and after everything she waited for a moment as I was about to leave, asked for her house key back (she’d given me a spare, in case I ever needed an emergency safe place to crash.) Then she told me that she needed to end things. “Okay,” I said. Apparently that threw her off, took the long speech she’d prepared or something, as she asked, confused, “But… did you need to hear any more?” I told her no, and then she proceeded to give me more detail anyway. We’d already had two fights in the two hours or so we’d spent together, which was about par for visiting with her, and I wasn’t worried about why she wanted to leave… just relieved that she was going, and that she had saved me the hassle of figuring out how to break things off. I walked around the rest of the evening with a huge weight off my shoulders and an extra little bounce in my step.
I briefly saw Poco a few months after breaking up with MFP. Briefly, like, we literally had an hour together, she slipped me into a packed-full schedule while she was visiting for a professional conference related to her field of work. I was completely unsurprised to hear that MFP had been in touch with her to talk all about the breakup, we grabbed some dinner and chatted a little bit. I haven’t really heard from her since then.
Everyone who was there in that one beautiful moment a year ago May is gone from my life, as are most of the people connected to them. SoCal has grown distant, too, and I finally told her that I couldn’t keep pouring my efforts into attempting to connect with her if she didn’t put any effort in too, that only hearing from her briefly when I reached out and being ignored otherwise wasn’t going to cut it, that flaking on meeting after meeting wasn’t okay. I let her know that I would reach back if she ever reaches out, but she hasn’t done so yet. It’s been months. She still pokes me on Facebook, still “likes” some of my posts, but beyond that… I hardly even know her.
Again is still around, but often has a completely packed schedule, and it’s been difficult and frustrating for both of us just how little we see of each other. I do get to visit with her tomorrow, though, and I’m super excited!
Escrow (new name, finally mentioning you…) is an interesting case. I had been staying with The Rabbit and her spouse for a few months, and we were all wearing on each others’ nerves. There had been a shouting match between me and The Rabbit‘s spouse, and I needed to get away, get out, get space. Escrow is someone that I knew through MFP and Plush, and I thought she was incredibly attractive, but I hadn’t ever really pursued anything… but she offered me a bit of room to sleep in a relatively quiet space for a couple of days, and we got the chance to get to know each other, since we’d only been acquaintances before that. She was getting ready to leave the state, finishing up a semester of school and transferring to another college, so one of the trips we made was to a particular Goodwill store that she knew would have some of the clothes she was stocking up on for her trip. After a couple of days of flirting back and forth, but also being unsure how much was flirting and how much was just clever minds appreciating lewd wordplay, on the long bus ride back from the thrift store in cramped seats, Escrow dropped her exhausted head onto my shoulder, and there was little enough room that her hand brushed my thigh… I welcomed it, and we started confessing that we’d both been attracted to each other but too shy to say anything or to offer the physical affection that we both wanted and wanted to give. That night was a wonderful one. She’s moved across the country, now, and I sometimes manage to catch her online — if we’re lucky, we can get Skype working over two less-than-fantastic internet connections — but that doesn’t carry the warmth of her touch.
I met Chop at the end of June, at the same bar where MFP and I used to go to drink absinthe. She was very interested in me, and we went for coffee briefly on the afternoon of July 3rd, when I was also scheduled to see Again, Crowbar, and Pout for dinner. I ended up going back to see Chop after dinner, and we ended up in her bed after going out to drink for a while and hanging out with her friends. I hadn’t known at the time, but she was in the early stages of an ugly divorce, and it had been a very long while since she’d had much sex at all, so she was happy to make up for it. The next morning, she offered me a bunch of her clothes and jewelry, trying to make it easier for her to move out, since she was planning on leaving everything behind and maybe even moving across the country to where she was raised. I thought maybe we’d stay in touch — and she had also mentioned more than a few times that she might decide to stay around if it meant more great sex like I’d given her! Then she suddenly blocked me on Facebook and sent an email to yell at me about how she “couldn’t be connected with” the suggestive but well within the “safe for work” category of sexy pictures that she had seen when she went to my profile, because she was rebranding herself as “family friendly” since she had decided to pour her efforts into getting some giant Monopoly-style game built, and “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” essentially. How me posting stuff on my own wall makes it impossible for her to hype some tourist attraction to other grown-ups, I have no clue, but she was willing to cut me off over it, so I’m probably just fine without that kind of bullshit in my life. One of her friends had quipped just a day or two before that, that “nobody who’s friends with Chop worries about being ‘appropriate.’ We’re too busy enjoying life for that!” This was in the context of looking — with Chop and me — at the very-much-explicit pornographic animated wallpapers on my cell phone. If she’s fine with suddenly doing an about-face for a tourist trap, and cutting ties that easily, I couldn’t trust her to stay around anyway.
A couple of days ago, I got word from The Rabbit that she and her spouse had decided that I have to be out of here in 3 months or less, and that when I find a place they can offer me slightly more financial assistance than they have been. Unfortunately, that only brings me back up to the level I was before being cut off by Plush and Lime, and housing costs have only gone up in that time. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to me at the point where they decide to kick me out and I can’t find a place to live. Oh, and it’ll be just in time for the Crap-Crappiest Season of All, the winter holidays where everybody is sitting down to huge feasts, surrounded by loved ones…