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Warning To A Young Man: You’re About To Go Through It

June 10th, 2015 4 comments

It’s been far too long since I wrote my last post. Usually I wouldn’t kick off a new post by acknowledging this. I’d just blog like I never left. But this latest hiatus has been eating at me to the point where I’ve lost sleep over it.

I don’t know when or why it became difficult for me to write a post. Long time readers remember the days when I was on here publishing posts five days a week. Now it’s a good month if I do five posts in 30 or 31 days. I could blame life or a career that already requires me to write. It could be both of those things, one of those things, or none of the things. In other words, the reasons I haven’t been writing on this blog as frequently as I once did are far too complicated for me to understand. I just know things aren’t what they used to be.

Luckily the anecdote for this is a simple one: Just write.

So I’m going to make an honest attempt to do more work here on this blog. I don’t know if ti will be all about relationships anymore. Honestly, that’s one of the things that held me back. But it doesn’t matter what I write about nearly as much as it matters that I write period.

Now that we got all that out of the way, I return with my response to a question a young man recently sent me. Here is his question in full, and my response is below.

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This Was Your Girlfriend

June 27th, 2013 24 comments

Ooh its hell
Knowing that for now
We shouldn’t kiss and tell
When it’s so good

Gary Clark Jr. from “Things Are Changin'”

 

She was your girlfriend for the last 8 weeks you two were together, and she ain’t even know it. You never told her that, and you never would, but if she was paying attention, if she trusted you, she would have noticed. Short of putting a ring on her finger, you were as committed to her as any man could be committed to someone.

But you never told her she was your girl, and somehow, you never made her feel like she was the only one. For most of the six months you two were together, she had her suspicions. There was one, or two, maybe even three people you called on nights you didn’t call her. You knew this, and yet, you did nothing to dispel those thoughts. As a matter of fact, you purposely never acted, all because she wasn’t your girlfriend. You knew a simple phone call before you turned in for the night would be a thoughtful gesture she would appreciate. But you denied her that because it felt too much like you were checking in, and if she was up late with the What Ifs, wondering what you were doing or who you were doing, that was her problem, not yours.

Foolishly you went to bed on those nights thinking she was thinking about you, when the truth is, the only reason she was awake was because she had company. Her phone was on silent while she was busy entertaining some guy she never told you about, a guy who came around after you two started doing whatever it is you were doing. When they met, she resisted for the most part, but he was cute and came correct, so she gave him her number. Two days later he asked her if she wanted to do lunch, and he ain’t even know how perfect his timing was because an hour prior, you asked her if you two could postpone the lunch plans you made. She went to lunch, and they hit it off, so she agreed to see him again because she didn’t know she was your girlfriend.

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About A Woman’s Right to Choose to Break Up With a Perfectly Good Man

December 11th, 2012 17 comments

For once, I didn’t want to be right. My gut was telling me something was wrong, she was acting distant and cold, but I didn’t want to think it had anything to do with me. Certainly I didn’t deserve the treatment, as many times as I asked her what was wrong, she came up with gibberish.

When I broke down the way my girlfriend was treating me to a friend of mine, someone who didn’t know her well, but with whom I felt comfortable confiding, she set me straight. “She’s treating you the way you guys treat girls you don’t like or don’t want to be with.” Her diagnosis was a wake up call.

I called my girlfriend, attempted small talk before delving into the bigger issue. But she wasn’t even up for chit-chat and tried to get off the phone as quickly as she got on it. That’s when I said, “Okay, this is ridiculous. What’s your problem? Why are you treating me like this?” She was caught off guard by my bluntness. There was silence, then I could hear a crack in her voice. She admitted she didn’t know exactly what was wrong, whether it was her or me, but something between us didn’t sit well with her and she wanted some time to herself to think about it.

A week later, in a park not far from her apartment, we sat down on a bench. There, she broke up with me.

I was a full grown man and the news made me cry like a baby. I was shocked, hurt, and upset. Here I thought this was the woman for me, and I treated her as such. I don’t know if I did everything right, but I damn sure didn’t shoot myself in the foot. The self-destructive tendencies I fell victim to in most relationships were off the table. I wanted to be this woman’s man and I didn’t want to mess it up.

I pressed in search for concrete, tangible things I did or said that made her look at me and us and say, “No, he’s not the one I thought he would be.” She didn’t have any. She certainly didn’t find any evidence that led her to believe I was being unfaithful or dishonest, because I wasn’t. So as you can imagine, I was quite confused.

It took me a while to realize there didn’t need to be a definitive reason for her not wanting to be with me. And I’m ashamed to admit, part of that had to do with me underestimating a woman’s ability to choose to be single and her need for more time before she settles down.

I needed to be broken up with to remind myself women don’t always want what we think they want. A part of my pain was induced by the blow my pride took. I could not believe after loving this woman to the best of my ability she still did not want to be with me. But when I stopped searching for things I did wrong and started replaying the things she said to me, I began to better understand, she was treating me the way guys treat girls they don’t like or with whom they no longer want.

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About The Things We Leave Behind

June 22nd, 2012 11 comments

Everybody owns a thing a person leaves behind when they leave us, and we’re all familiar with the way that thing morphs into something sacred and symbolic. This my story about that thing…

I’ve been looking at this picture you gave me every single day since you told me it was over. I’m looking at it right now, as I’m writing this and though it’s rectangular, it has the illusion of a question mark because I don’t know what to do with it.

And I’m hesitant to talk about the picture at length because you always told me when you leave, the picture would go with you. Remembered I protested? Told you that picture was mine, your gift to me, and no matter how bad things got between us, you should never take a gift back. Well, except of course if I did something foul, then, yeah, the picture would go back with you.

But I didn’t do anything foul, and you ended things with me for perfectly acceptable reasons, painful as they were. Yet, the picture is still here, on my wall and I look at it every single day in ways much different than I used to.

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Your Heart Isn’t Broken Unless You’ve Done One of These Five Things

June 19th, 2012 7 comments

I always tell the story of the time my Pop told me the two side-effects of a broken heart.

I was in the third grade and the family just came back from a road trip to see Disney On Ice. On that trip, I was allowed to bring one friend, and I decided to bring Vera, the girl who I had a crush on. Turns out it was the right move, as Vera and I held hands in the car our entire commute. On the way back, we did the same. Back in those days, if you held hands for more than two hours, you two go together. These are facts in elementary school.

The family arrived home after dropping Vera off. I went into my room to change for bed when my Pop came in. He stood in the doorway and asked, “Did you have a good time?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I could tell,” he said teasingly.

I didn’t say anything, continuing my routine like I didn’t hear him. Third grade is so young to have any type of feelings for a girl that you don’t know if you’re embarrassed or worried you’re in trouble for doing something wrong.

“I’m just going to tell you this,” Pop said. “Love can hurt you too. When you get your heart broken this is what happens…”

I continued to act like I couldn’t hear him, avoiding eye contact and distracting myself by straightening up my room.

“Look at me,” he said.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. “This is what happens,” he said. “You can’t eat, you can’t sleep. That’s heartbreak.” Then, he repeated himself. “You can’t eat, you can’t sleep.”

As it turns out, Pop was right. I’ve not ate and not slept a few times in my life, the end result of love gone astray, and I’m grateful for his words, because everytime those feelings of not eating and not sleeping wash over me, I know things are or were real.

Should I ever have a son, I will repeat the lesson my Pop taught me, but I will also add five more signs that his heart is broken. For any man who has ever had a broken heart, read the list and ask yourself, have you suffered from any one of these things? If you can’t say you have, you can’t say your heart was broken. But if at least one thing on this list applies to you, Godspeed, my man. Things will get better.

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Everything Hurts But The Breakup Itself

June 12th, 2012 6 comments

For those who have heard the story I share in the beginning of this post, bear with me. I’ve written so much on this blog, I may, from time to time repeat myself, but it will go somewhere. Trust me.

Sister and I walked home together from school, business as usual. We entered our house and saw mom in the kitchen. We said hi to her, gave her hugs, kisses, then went to go put our stuff in our rooms. This was the usual routine. Very rarely was our mom not home from work before we were home from school. Pop would arrive a couple hours after we got home, just in time for dinner.

At this time, our family had two dogs. One was a quiet basset/beagle mix named Pepper. The other was a rottweiler named Makita. Pepper was the first dog we owned. She had been in our family even before pop came into our lives. Makita came later, a somewhat impulsive purchase by pop who was inspired to have his real life version of man’s best friend after watching the movie Turner & Hooch. So Makita, essentially was pop’s dog, but as years went by, Makita became the family dog just like Pepper.

Usually when my sister and I came home, it was Makita who would run up to the sliding door and start scratching up the glass, excited to see us. That sound of excitement was something we were used to hearing, but on this day when my sister and I arrived home from school, we didn’t hear a sound. I thought it unusual, so when I came back out from my room after putting down my stuff, I asked mom, “Where’s Makita?”

Mom turned off the faucet, dried her hands with a towel, and told me to meet her in our living room.

“Tell your sister to come out here too,” she said.

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All The Talks We Had About Our Future

April 30th, 2012 10 comments

Remember when the past was the present and how we would talk about the future?

In those moments, we discussed everything: Me. You. Who would be invited to see me and you as we prepared to live life together as one.

We talked a lot about those times, with no hint of uncertainty. Somehow we knew, or rather, we felt like with the exception of the bare ring fingers we had at the moment, our future would look no different than our present.

To be fair, it was me who spoke the most of what we could be, of what I wanted us to be. You have to understand, at the moment I said anything to you, it was coming from a sincere place. I could have been strapped into a lie detector test, and the results would have showed, I never lied. I meant it when I said I could see us getting married. I meant it when I said I could live anywhere in the world with you. I meant it when I said my mother is going to love you when she meets you.

But we’re not together anymore, so getting married seems impossible. We never moved, and my mother only asks when is the last time I talked to you.

And now you think I lied to you back then; all those things I said were just things I said because they sounded good and were fun to say.

You could not be more wrong.

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You’re Going To Break A Heart One Day

March 7th, 2012 11 comments

No one ever tells you that about love. Folk say, “Protect yourself, protect your heart, be careful, don’t get hurt.” And that’s fine, necessary even, but someone needs to teach the kids how to deal with the pain they will one day cause.

This isn’t about men or women. This is about heartbreakers, and the people who are courageous enough to fill a role they never intended to play. No one signs up to get their heart broken, but no one understands, the sign-up sheet to break someone’s heart is nameless too. And it’s difficult for the victim to get that you too never saw it coming, and even when you did, you did your best to look the other way and keep pushing forward.

You said, “I love you” and you meant it, to your detriment. Because you still mean it now, but you’re about to follow those words up with some more words that will break their heart and now, your love is forever shady. Nothing is more crushing than someone you love saying you don’t. So you stay, and you say “I love you” again, and again, because “I love you” is easier to say than “I can’t love you anymore.”

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