fin

Before Timo and I spoke on the phone - one week into the breakup - I sent him an email. It contained things I needed him to, if not acknowledge, at least hear. I put a lot of thought into it. It contained some criticisms, some deserved call-outs--but mostly clarifications about where I'd been at in the relationship. Because I suspected his ending it had a lot to do with his fear that I was in some kind of hurry to get to the next level.


(I was not.)


But when we talked on the phone, I'd asked him if he'd read that email. He had not. "I couldn't," he said.


So I proceeded to say the things I needed to and ask the questions I needed to. He was honest and undefensive, but very emotional in his responses. Some of what I told him he hadn't realized. I thought I heard a shift in his voice. He cried. He refused to point-blank say he wasn't in love with me. Said "You're asking me to jerk you around" instead. There were other little moments during the call, too. Little clues, little softenings of his tone, in which I heard - still - love.


And it completely fucked me up. I hung up victorious and sure he just needed a little time to miss me. He was in Europe for work, but I knew when he came back he'd call. He'd want to see me, right away.


I knew it.


But then of course he didn't. And every minute of that first 24 hours was a breath held until I remembered I had to keep breathing. It was one of the most torturous days of my life. The next morning as I was getting ready for work, I made the decision to message him. I just had to know, either way. Had he been conflicted? Did he maybe just want to take a little time, think about what he wants? Or was he done--truly done.


I sent him a short message saying that apparently I wasn't as strong as I thought I was, and while I thought I'd heard conflict in his voice, I wasn't going to be able to just sit on my hands with the indefinitely open door that I'd offered him. Can you just please say the words, 'I know for certain that I don't want to be with you now or in the future'? so that I can for real this time move on?


I couldn't focus at work, kept checking my phone constantly. No response. Hours go by. No response. I'd DMed him on Twitter, and as best I could tell from the dumb little checkmark/date stamp system, he hadn't even read it. Which makes no sense, because he lives on Twitter. Had be blocked me? Had he actually blocked me?


I barely keep it together long enough to close the store, get on a train home, get out of the subway car, and get on the station escalator before messaging him again, this time SMS. He's got an Android, though, so I've no way of knowing if he's read that, either.


It's the worst feeling. I am instantly twenty-whatever again, just pathetically begging and chasing whichever man it is (oh god there were too many) who just isn't that into me. I hate myself, in this moment. A grown woman knowing better than to do what she's doing, but doing it all the same, because she's a grown woman with anxiety and abandonment issues, and, probably, a dash of love addiction.


I wait and wait but he doesn't respond. I am absolutely beside myself. By this point I know he must be totally done, but I just. need. to hear. it. I need to hear him say it. I need either the ice water-in-the-face of a cold, "I'm sorry, Ellie, I don't want to be with you" or the satisfaction of hearing a tear-filled version of the same.


I call. He doesn't answer. I leave a voicemail. I am now in a dangerous place, spiraling fast.


And this, my dear lovely friends of so many years - this is where everything changes. My own mental illness is what is now about to save me, in a way. Because Timo knows I am not always, shall way say, "totally together"? He knows I am prone to debilitating, dangerous panic attacks. Ideation. Very, very bad stuff.


He knows this about me, and yet he does not respond.


And so here's the thing. Even if I weren't? Even if I was the sanest, healthiest, stablest human being on the planet? We were together for two and one half-years. He broke up with me out of the fucking blue. If I needed one more conversation - ten more minutes after two and a half years - I should have gotten it. Full stop.


But I didn't get it. Timo did not pick up the phone and call me back, broken and hurting fellow human being that I am. He didn't even text back. He fucking DM'ed me on Twitter. And I could tell, both from the dumb little checkmark/date system and from the absolutely banal and nonspecific BS that he sent, that he had not even read my DM.


In other words, he had not read or heard a word of the pain I was in. He saw I was reaching out, needing help, but he just...shoved his fingers in his ears. Hid completely. Would not give me the closure I was begging for. Could not even read my words. And I guarantee he deleted my voicemail unheard.


So this DM comes back, these three little paragraphs of absolute breakup-cliche dreck, and I'm sitting on my bed reading them, and it all comes home for me. How unbelievably not okay it is, for him to do things this way, to someone who he knows suffers in the ways I do. To not have the tiniest bit of compassion or patience. Mind you this had not been me trying to get him back. It had just been me, hurting badly, asking for absolute closure to a very confusing week.


And I realize that this was the best thing ever. Just the best thing ever. Because who wants that? Who wants a person like that in their life, capable of such selfishness, cowardice, and cruelty?


Not I.


---


So here's where I'm at now: on the far side of it. I got launched hard and fast to that far side. And I am really grateful to be there. I'm smiling again, and laughing, and the amount of time I go in between thinking about him gets longer and longer every day. I'm stung by the rejection, of course. Because ego never really dies. And I'm angry that he didn't hear me out (or read me out), even though it would have been painful. He told me during that phone call that he'd decided in January to end it. That's a full month of pretending, and incredible pretending at that. That alone is just... that alone earned me one more conversation.


And I'm sad to lose companionship and affection. That's hard. But now I look back at things differently, through the lens of his final choices. And I still have my list of all the reasons he is wrong for me. Big reasons, small reasons. Petty reasons, important reasons. And I have everything else to keep me busy. Awesome job, world's greatest friends. And some of the loyalest, most supportive people on the fucking internet to cheer me on as I get. back. up.


Again.