You know them. The social cues ingrained in our heads.

“How are you?”


The truth is I am so far from good, so horribly far, but no one wants to hear that. You’re not supposed to say that. You say “okay” or “good” or “fine” so that the other person can continue on with their day.

I am shitty. I am hurt. I am angry. I am lonely. I am sad. I am things I haven’t been, all at once, in a very long time. I don’t even know if I can recall one, actually. Something to compare.

I can’t sleep, I barely eat. 2am has become my new bedtime, except I still have work in the morning. I watch TV episodes on my iPad until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Sometimes I get some juice, just to get something to mollify my growling stomach. I have what feels like endless food in my fridge, thanks to my parents, but I’ve barely touched it all week.

My opinion of my now-ex boyfriend has dropped like a rock in the past two weeks. And I never wanted that, I never want it for anyone. It’s part of the reason I’m seeing him again, to talk, one last time. And it’s part of the reason I’m terrified to see him again. Because, maybe, he really is that terrible. If he is, I doubt he’s aware of that fact. I desperately don’t want him to be, I desperately want some other reason, some trigger he didn’t mention when he broke up with me. Because I call bullshit. I could deal with feeling used for two weeks. Not two years.

When we went on our first date, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without dropping a beat, I said, “I want to break codes for the government.” And he smiled, said that’s great. Nodded, maybe. I hardly remember, I was giddy sitting next to this boy. I’ve shifted the job role (math’s not my strong suit, apparently it’s helpful when breaking codes) but not the destination. I haven’t in three or four years. Once, maybe a year ago? Less? He asked again if that was still what I was thinking. I said, yes. I said, I’m being patient. Work really hard here, make something, prove I can, and then reapply in a few years. I’m that determined.

So when he gives a big reason for leaving me as “I really don’t like the federal government,” I call BS. How is it a fucking dealbreaker now, all of a sudden? It’s not news. He’s literally known from day one. So why string me along for two years? He might as well have said “I won’t support your dreams.” Well fuck you, too. I would have supported him in anything. Anything. He wanted to make a business building a castle, then park/adventure camp, then hotel to fund it all. And I told him to do it. Go for it. We talked about it, tried to assess feasibility. He stared at me. “Are you being serious?” “Yes,” I told him. “I think you could do it.” It was a nifty idea. It would take a lot of investment, a lot of persuading. But I thought he could.

Oh! But let’s not forget. He’s decided to quit teaching. At the end of the year “probably.” He doesn’t know what he’ll do, at least that’s what he told me. So obviously that was a factor in breaking up with me. As was, what was it, moving out of the area. This is the man I thought would live and die in Maryland (it was a wrench for him to leave it for this job anyway) and haunt it. If he believed in ghosts. Do normal couples not ever bring things like this up before saying “screw it, I’m out, seeya”? In an email after the breakup, he wrote, “I don’t really plan to stay here, even if I do like the area.” WTF? And he’s given his whole life to teaching. Got his master’s, then certificate, then another one. I thought it might have been the only thing he ever actually loved. And the week before the breakup, we were talking about his path, which grades next year, the one after. Then getting a national certificate, then eventually going for his doctorate. So a week later, giving up everything? What the hell happened? And why was he unable to tell me about any of it? I asked him how long he’d been thinking about it, he said “awhile.”

God. He’s too independent to be in a relationship with anyone. Like he’s some higher being, striving for god knows what, while us mere mortals strive for love. Like that’s one of the dumber ideas humans ever came up with.

He said we weren’t getting any stronger. I guess I wasn’t worth the time and effort, then. Not to him. You care about someone, you try. He couldn’t be bothered to see me more than one day a week. He saw me less often when he moved closer to me. Maybe I’m just not good at reading the warning signs. Like reconnecting with his past ex on Facebook right around Christmas. You know, the one I spent with him and his family. After telling me, late this summer, that she’d (Girl A) sent him this long message about how she was removing him from Facebook and didn’t care about him anymore and blah blah, I never read it and never cared. I asked him about it – she’s the one he goes back to, from what he’s told me. With Girl A for five years on and off, left her, found Girl B, stayed with Girl B for 6 months, then said he wanted something more familiar, and went back to Girl A. Realized it wouldn’t work, left Girl A again. Found me. So I asked him about the timing. Christmas. I didn’t even see it until after he left me, for good. A few weeks later and I’m out of his life? He said it was purely coincidence. That “I haven’t talked to her since she sent me the facebook friend thing. Nothing rekindled.” So…what, Facebook magically made you friends again?

I hate thinking like this. More than anything. I hate thinking he could do this, he could use me, he could just not care enough or at all. That I wasn’t worth it. Two years later.

Breakups really suck. And I will be giving him back his stuff.