The day after we came back from a trip where I introduced my boyfriend to my family, I got dumped.
As a working single parent, I didn’t have time to process our call until hours later.
I expected more than a five-minute breakup call, but now I can move on.
He called me at 11 am I answered with a breathless, “Hi. I’m on a deadline then I have to go. What’s up?”
To mother 12 hours beforewe’d returned from our first big vacation together, a cross-country budget-breaker — at least for me, a freelance writer — for which we’d ditched the kids with our respective exes, and I’d introduced him to my sister and brother-in-law, the first family intros we’d done besides kids and pets.
“I really enjoy spending time with you, but I want to do my own thing for a while,” he said on the call. I followed up by asking why he’d go on a vacation with me if he was planning this phone call.
“I love you, but I want to date around more after my divorce,” he said. Which confused me even more, because he had given me no indication of this during our trip.
He was loving the entire time
During our visit, I admired my sister’s new house, complete with its new backyard-grill setup.
“This is the grill I want,” I’d told him. “Don’t buy a grill,” he’d said. “I have a grill. Come grill at my house.” That had been two days before this call.
He checked his Fitbit. “I always get a better sleep score when I sleep in bed with you,” he said the day before we left.
He said he wanted to spend more time with my kids. He’d recently added me to his Spotify family plan.
“I did not expect this. This seems extremely disrespectful after a yearlong relationship,” I said. “I wish you luck in all your endeavors. I am saying goodbye now.” And I hung up.
Blocking him was my only way of moving on
I still had to finish my breaking-news piece, volunteer teach two hours of theater to middle schoolers, drive a car pool, take the kids to swim lessons, make dinner, do bedtime, and then, hours later, I could let myself feel feelings.
After my divorce, I made myself a promise. Since I was inextricably linked to my ex, the father of my children, for all the days of my life, I swore I would never be tethered to an ex again. After hanging up, I blocked and deleted his phone number.
I cannot “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” him from my brain, nor do I want to. I will remember the man who was kind to me when I was scared to love someone again, who never got frustrated when I had hang-ups that weren’t his fault, and who told me I was beautiful and funny.
I did not and will not request a postmortem. I don’t feel the need to hear his excuses, because they won’t help.
Either they’re not about me and I’ll feel more disposable than I already do, more like an item he had buyer’s remorse over and returned, or he will tell me the ways I failed him as a partner, insufficiencies he didn’t give me a chance to address during our tenure. It will not make me feel better, and I don’t want him to see me sad.
I’ll likely never trust anyone who says they love me again. No man anyway. It was hard enough to trust him, and he was nothing but nice until the end.
He might have thought I was immature for blocking him, or he never called, but my freedom from having to hear his voice on my phone again was the greatest gift I could give myself.
Also, I bought a grill.
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