Friday, April 8, 2011

How A Man in His 30's Gets Over Getting Dumped

John DeVore is one of the funniest (and most honest) guys I read.  In this post (link here) he describes how he totally and effortlessly got over being dumped recently.  The experience, emotion-wracked incident-by-incident, is almost the way I handled getting dumped by the "One-est" of my "The Ones" in my 30's, a woman who lived with me 6 days a week for many months and with whom, with trepidation (and instinctual alarm bells ringing!), I was discussing marriage.

An excerpt from John's post:
"I’ve even gone through “The Dead Zone,” which is named for that early ‘80s documentary about how Chris Walken has psychic powers and when he touches you, he can see your future. Only in my case, every time I touch one of the shirts she left at my place or her leopard print Snuggie, I immediately remember whispered promises, midnight giggles and shared sighs of contentment. So, I’ve run her shirts through a paper shredder I bought at Staples and set them on fire in my bathtub. I’ve also scrubbed every place her feet ever touched with a toothbrush and Ajax. I’ve stapled trash bags all over my couch and I’ve dragged my bed to the corner. I sleep in a pile of crumpled up newspapers on my bare bedroom floor."
Hadn't realized I'd had compatriots in that grieving process, John!  Interesting, however, that we're both the type to be willing, and capable, of writing about our feelings.  Perhaps we are more similar than dissimilar in many ways.

I believe, after finding solace in a bottle of what John calls "delicious brown magic water", I (shudder) snapped her toothbrush, hair clips and and an entire box of feminine hygiene applicators (intended to visit a place I'd never be going again) in half one by one and put the debris in a bag that I dropped off on her doorstep.  She inspired great passion in me, what can I say?

But really, it didn't affect me all that much, as John points out.  I believe that the former, still face-reddening incident, took place some time before I tearfully put the long, wavy strands of her golden hair that I found everywhere in my apartment into a zip-lock bag and slept with it under my pillow for weeks.  (OK, months, but certainly no longer than that...)  It was no big deal.

I've gone through another 'death of a relationship' more recently (Rex's "Cave Dog" post speaks to the mourning process) and it was equally difficult, but in a distinctly different way.  Yes, of course the women involved were very different from each other, as were the circumstances, but I was very different, as well.  I was at a different 'place' in my emotional evolution.

My point is that things change with regard to the resilience of the heart as a man matures.  Yes, you still feel incredible heartbreak and some anger, but while the pain is more deeply felt (a burning sensation not on the surface of your skin, but in your bone marrow) and the sadness lasts even longer (or at least the ability to 'get back in the saddle and ride' -- for me, anyway -- takes longer to regain), the mind-numbing, blinded-by-pain, gut-wrenching intensity is assuaged by age and tempered by experience as you do know, having been through it before, that you will, eventually, get over it.  It gives way to, not apathy, but acquiescence, of sorts.  You know that the pain is coming down the tracks towards you and you can better brace yourself for both the impact and the aftermath.

There's another interesting character, another writer/editor on TheFrisky.com, who I suspect is a bit older, who has firmly and utterly (apparently) embraced the intensity of grief a man can feel in that 'middle stage' of emotional development:  past one's carefree 'free love' stage and not yet into the maturity that comes with passing 45.  He calls himself "Singularity" and had what seems to have been a relatively short-lived relationship (several years?) with a woman who tragically died of cancer.  I suspect, had he been more mature when it happened, he'd have been able to let it go and move on.  Instead he clings to the memory of her in a way that indicates quite a deep-set problem with OCD, insisting that he will never love again.  I wrote this to him in a comment:
Singularity's Icon
"Singularity", you really are a piece of work. Keep it up. I do hope the day comes when she knocks on the outside of the thick skull encasing your  beautiful mind and gives it a really good shake. She'll cry, long and hard, in frustration at your stubborn pride, your embrace of your 'singularity' and her tears will finally float you free, free for her reincarnation, who's out here in the real world waiting for you, smiling, beckoning, on the OUTside of that thick concrete tomb you've built so lovingly. (And, BTW, there isn't 'just one', there are many, many, many...)
In some ways I get his 'singularity'.  For me, having gone through that experience of 'The One" who I was utterly and completely (even inexplicably!) in love with at the time, in a more fulfilling, satisfying and multidimensional way than I'd ever experienced before (the ultimate triumvirate of passion, personality and intellectual compatibility), I can understand that if she'd been taken from me not just accidentally and instantaneously (e.g. a car crash), but over a drawn-out period of time (cancer), that the 'imprinting' and therefore the length of time it would take to 'get past' that love and open up again might feel eternal.

As it was, the fact that my "The One-est of The Ones" made the decision to follow the money train (not that it was self-earned, mind you, the guy has piggy-backed on his rich daddy's efforts), instead of her heart, gave me some room to manoeuvre my grief around.  The guarantee of riches and the 'social fame' that comes with 'old (new) money' far outweighed the intensity of passion and the promise, even if she was incapable of feeling it, of my loving her for a lifetime.  Although the taste was bitter, the shallowness of that choice-making gave me some succour.

Honestly, throughout my time with another "One" for many years, I must admit that the earlier "One" has never been far from my thoughts (yes, despite everything -- there's no explaining the heart!).  Other great loves of mine come to mind upon occasion when something stimulates a remembrance, but never with a similar several-times-a-day frequency.  She remains "the One-est" of "The Ones".

(The "One-est" or "Won-est'?  She definitely wasn't the "Winning-est" pour moi!  My buddy used to whisper in my ear, as she'd be shrugging into her coat to leave in a rush yet again, "You DO know she is the devil, right?"  Off she'd flit to what I later found out were rendezvouses with not just the man she'd eventually marry, but one of several others.  Charming...  Beside "BFH" in the acronym dictionary is a photo of her.)

Hats off to John DeVore's talent for inspiring this post, and here's to hoping we all find more than one "The One" out there, because there really is a vast and well-populated playing field of potential!

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