So that’s more or less the end of The Rollercoaster, for now at least. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t sometimes wish that one day he’ll call me and apologize for everything, because I absolutely do, and even when I was coming back up to Boston after being in Florida for 5 months I started to have a weird feeling that I’m going to see him again soon. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
I realize that I probably sound crazy being so into a guy I barely knew – trust me, I get that if you’re just hearing about it, it sounds weird. But it really didn’t feel weird to me, and like I said, up until the night with Pete and Jackie I actually don’t think that he thought it was that weird either – why else would he have let me come out there? Clearly (most) girls don’t fly across the country for a) just sex and/or b) to be just friends with someone they had a really great fist date with. I don’t, I told him that several times.
I also think so much of it was that I really did feel like I’d done everything “right” with this one. I wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time. I was really satisfied and content and happy with where I was in my life – if I found someone to share it with, great, if not, that was cool, too. I looked for red flags before going out there and didn’t see any. I waited for him to ask me to come out there so I could be sure we were at least somewhat on the same page, and that I wasn’t being delusional thinking he liked me, too. Plus, he remembered so many random little details about me – things that I didn’t even remember telling him sometimes. One day not too long before me trip, when I was getting ready to go somewhere and texting him, I asked him if he preferred straight or curly hair (to help me decide what to do with it that day), and he said that he liked “whichever way I was wearing my hair.”
I understand why Christian went for me, I was young and naive and the perfect target, and I understand why Al did, too. I’m pretty and nice and see the best in people, so I was the perfect choice for him to cheat on his girlfriend with. But I really felt like with Tony, I was entering the potential-relationship the way you’re supposed to. This time on Bumble had nothing to do with Al, and my wanting to be with him had nothing to do with Christian. This was the first time I really felt like I was doing it all right, so I really didn’t think I could get hurt. I thought this was the one that was going to make all of the shit I’ve been through worth it, but I also didn’t even think about any of that stuff very much anymore. So I don’t know why he went for me because I don’t feel like I was sending off any of the slightly-wounded-and-in-need-of-male-validation vibes that I’ve definitely been guilty of the past.
Yes, I probably put a bit more weight than I should on the fact that he checked off a lot of boxes for what I’m looking for, but overall, I don’t think I was being unrealistic. My parents got engaged after dating for three months and just celebrated their 33rd anniversary – time isn’t a big deal to me, and neither is distance when it’s for the right person. I know I have pretty high standards for what I’m looking for, and for me finding someone who so clearly met so many of them kind of felt like finding a kidney donor (probably a bad example, but I’m going with it).
I think the reason I’m still not completely over it now is because of my completely ridiculous need for closure, too. I like getting the last word, and I don’t like not knowing why something happened. I don’t like not knowing for sure that it was his friends’ reaction to me, and mine to them, that changed everything, and would things be different if we just hadn’t gone to the club that night, or if they liked me more, or if I hadn’t told him that he’d said he loved me. Anxiety is a bitch, am I right?
I also think that I want to think he’s a narcissist, I really do, but I don’t think he is. I don’t think he’s an Empath either, but he does have feelings. I saw it in his face when we had brunch. I saw it when he apologized to me that afternoon. I felt it when he hugged me goodbye. He does have a conscience and the capacity to feel for people other than himself, he just doesn’t know how to act on it apparently. It does make it a lot harder to get over something when you can’t just chalk it up to a clearly defined personality disorder. It’s the not really knowing what made him go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde that really gets me.
Finally, it’s the personal reasons, too, of course. Before him, I worked really hard to work on my self-worth issues after Christian. I worked on them more after Al. It took a lot of therapy and support from my family and friends, but I was finally starting to believe people when they told me I deserved a healthy and loving relationship. I was happy with myself, and I wanted things to work out with him because he was treating me the way that they never did – and I refuse to let boys who don’t know how to love me make me cynical – and for the first time I wasn’t pushing someone who was being nice to me away which is my usual self-destructive pattern. So it was really crushing when all of that got taken away from me in such a brutal way. It made me doubt myself again, and it felt like months of hard work just disappeared. Am I never going to be good enough for a guy? Am I only good for sex? Is there always going to be someone “better” than me? Do I not deserve love, respect, loyalty, even decency? Am I really that unlovable? I hate it almost as much as I hate the fact that I probably just sounded like Carrie Bradshaw asking all those rhetorical questions.
It also bothered me that when something like this happens, I get sad and upset first and the anger comes along later – usually after they’ve completely ghosted or dumped me – and I get frustrated that they never get to see that side or the side that’s actually doing well. I feel like when I cry I’m showing someone that they won, and I hate when that’s the last impression. I think not being afraid to show emotion is definitely a strength, one that he doesn’t have as of yet, but I didn’t feel strong when I spent the entire last day of being with him sobbing. I would rather him see me angry and have that be his last memory of talking to me than him knowing that he made me cry.
I guess all of that is why when I think about it, I consider this a worse hurt than what I experienced with Christian or Al. To be fair, I’ve had more time away from both of them so it could be subjective, but I can at least now understand why Christian treated me the way he did. With Al, I was too focused on how much I missed my grandma to really miss him, and I’d decided long before he ghosted me that we were just friends. But I don’t have that with Tony. And yes, Christian was the focus of many therapy sessions and did partially inspire my move 1,115 miles away, and Al was the spark that set me on a Bumble and Tinder date frenzy, but neither of them can say that needing to get over my anger and frustration towards them is part of the reason why I just spent a good amount of money on an energy healing/soul path package with my friend. Tony is absolutely not the only reason why I decided to invest in that, but I’d be lying if I said that he wasn’t a part of it, because he is.
I spent a long time being jealous of his girlfriend, Angela, but then I realized that it’s silly to be jealous of someone who’s in the same position I was in at my lowest point. Yes, I don’t think he’s a narcissist, but I DO know firsthand why men go for girls several years younger than them (Tony is 30) – I was one of them. I was the 22-year old with someone a decade older than me, and he chose me over girls his own age for a reason. Because I was young, I was naive, I didn’t have a lot of experience so I put my trust in him, and I never wanted to call him out. Why was I jealous of a 22-year old dating a guy eight years older than her, most likely for the same reasons? I called him out on pissing me off that night, I didn’t back down from fights, of course it’s easier to date someone a lot younger who likely lets him get away with way more shit than I’d ever let my boyfriend get away with.
Besides, why would I be jealous of a girl dating a guy who thinks it’s okay to let a girl who’s been nothing but nice be treated disrespectfully by their friends? Or thinks it’s okay to send mixed signals, lie, and then not be able to offer a single legitimate explanation for any of it? Or who thinks it’s “nice” of him to leave a girl at a closing mall for six hours and not even make sure she gets to the airport okay? I wouldn’t want to be with someone who treated anyone like that, and it happened to me yet I was still jealous for a while. It took me some time to realize that this was my self-worth issues coming back into play, that I’ve been through the wringer so many times that I literally thought that that was the best I could get, that was that I deserved, but it wasn’t. It isn’t.
Yes, I’m a bit crazy sometimes (especially in my Internet creeping), yes I can be a bitch, I’m dramatic, argumentative, and blunt, I overthink everything, and I cry way more than the average person. But I’m also loyal, I’m kind, I’m understanding, empathetic, and passionate. I love people more than they deserve to be loved a lot of the time, and I love people more than I love myself even more than that. I doubt that she knows everything that happened with me, if she knows who I am at all, but it doesn’t change the fact that he knows. He’s done what he’s done, and he isn’t someone I want to be with. I can’t be jealous of someone that, when I think about myself in that position six years ago, I’d feel sorry for.
I also want to be clear, too, and say that – as my therapist can attest to – my problem is usually that I’m too self-aware and willing to take responsibility for my actions, which is why I end up in these situations for way longer than I should be in them, because it’s very easy for me to make excuses for people or blame myself and my faults. So, I’ll fully admit that I’m not blameless in this and, spoiler alert, I am a tiny bit crazy on occasion and I own that shit, but the difference is that I actually wanted to talk to him about it and work through it. I was willing to admit what I’d done wrong and genuinely apologize for it and fix it. But, it’s very hard for me to do that when I’m just being attacked and blindsided. And, more than that, he wasn’t willing to talk to me unless I was willing to take on all the blame, which was not fair to me at all, and refused to give me a sincere apology for pretty much anything that had happened. That’s what I can’t forgive, and that’s why he’s getting the edit that he is.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I know this was a really, really long one and I’m sorry for that, and honestly I probably could have added even more details if I wanted to but believe it or not, this was me leaving some things out. My family did always say I can make a short story long.
To be very transparent and open, this has been immensely helpful for me to get all of this out in one place. My family and friends know a lot of this, as does my therapist, but I think I needed to just REALLY put it all out there and my hand would have fallen off if I’d tried to write all of it in my journal (yes, I still have a journal – don’t judge). This was clearly a huge event for me, and it really did help me to just put it all out in the open.
Also, just to throw it out there – yes, I know I remember way too much but it’s not my fault that I just have a freakishly good memory! It scares me sometimes, too, honestly but trust me if I could forget every random detail about him, like how he takes his coffee, I would, but my hippocampus and amygdala just won’t let me. I also will go on record and say that I’m an AWFUL liar, and my right eye didn’t twitch even once while I was writing this (it’s a thing, don’t ask) so that’s how you know that everything I wrote is true.
Like I said in the beginning, this might not be one of my funniest ones but I’m pretty sure I achieved my goal of being real. I know this story is a bit all over the place and probably not something a lot of people can directly relate to, but I’m sure that a lot of you can relate to the way that it made me feel, and the way I still feel sometimes afterwards (it doesn’t help that Corona has put a major damper on my dating life and that I haven’t exactly met anyone to make me feel differently towards men since Tony). I hope you know it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to still think about the guy/girl that broke your heart, you just can’t let them take up more space in your head or heart or life than they deserve. You deserve better. I deserve better. And someday, we’ll find that. I know it.
A little bit after my final conversation with Tony, I wrote out an email that I knew I’d never send, but I wanted to get out how angry, sad, dejected, hurt, used, and disappointed I felt in the moment. I never sent it, of course, but it’s still been sitting there because I think deep-down I knew that really, I just wanted to feel heard and have someone besides my mom and my best friend know how I felt. So, I decided that on the last page of this chapter/book I wanted to share it, with some parts redacted to maintain privacy or just to not go into the TMI realm. You 100% don’t have to read it, but I think it’s a step that will help me let go of some of the anger I still have, and maybe help me move past it even more so that I’m more trusting and open to a relationship with someone who’d never even think about doing any of this to me.
So with that, I’ll say goodbye to you for this week, or you can read the open email on the next page, and save the goodbye for after then. Thank you again for reading, it means more to me than you know, and I promise that next week we’ll be back to more light-hearted and humorous tales! The rollercoaster ride is over. I hope you enjoyed the playlist and that it helped the time go by a bit more quickly – if you liked the playlist, comment and I’ll make them for future chapters, too!
Have a great rest of your Tuesday and a great week! Sending love and positivity to all of you.