I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him lately.
Mr M was showing up in my dreams a lot too.
We dated for a few years during our teens. He was my first love, and we both did some things we’re not proud of, but what we had for the years we were together was that crazy-can’t-live-without-each-other-kind of love. Without a doubt.
I’m the kind of person that tries hard in a relationship, I usually hold on longer than I should, but when I let go, I do move on. It’s all or nothing with me. It’s probably thanks to my Borderline Personality Disorder and that good ol’ black & white thinking.
However, in the past few months, Mr M has been crossing my mind a lot.
In therapy, we’ve been discussing guilt. I think this may have helped me realise just how guilty I have always felt over the way I ended my relationship with Mr M.
Soon after Mr M & I broke up, I started dating someone else. I didn’t necessarily want to but after much persistence from this new person and me being easily swayed; I gave in to this new lover (also known as Duck – you’ve probably read about him before). And early on, I was banned from speaking to my ex. Whom had I come to think of as a best friend.
For a while after our break up, Mr M would call me and message, but Duck was very much “You do not speak to him”. And so, I didn’t. Duck was not a fan of Mr M at all, which is ironic seen as Duck is the one that hurt me.
In my mind, I just left Mr M hanging. I left the sweetest guy I have ever met just hanging with no real explanation or friendly contact. Nothing.
I remember receiving a message from him one time saying “you’re being a bitch” after I ignored him for days when he said he needed to talk to me. And when I think of that message, I still feel my heart sink like it did that night. I felt so guilty (there’s that word again). Mr M had never spoken to me that way, so this was quite a shock.
I was at Duck’s house when this message came through and he made sure that I didn’t check my phone anymore.
That was that.
Now I realise that Duck was quite controlling, and I was easy to control. I have always struggled with my identity; I’m still not sure who I am, so I’ve spent most of my life doing what others tell me to (I assume they know better, seen as I don’t even know who I am!)
The shittiest thing about this situation is that, behind my back, Duck was pretending he was single, even though we were very much together at this point. He even created a Facebook page I didn’t know of and made sure to set it to ‘single’.
But, still, I didn’t contact Mr M and the guilt I felt over how I treated him has sat with me for over a decade. I never spoke about it. I didn’t explore this emotion at all and so, this emotion sat inside me, growing more & more powerful.
I believe that whether we act on it or not, at some point we all have that impulse to reach out to an old flame. It doesn’t mean we want to rekindle that love, it just means we’re human and from time to time we get curious; we want to know – How are they? What are they up to now? Have they changed at all? What would life look like had we stayed together?
What the hell is so wrong with wondering how someone is doing anyway?! Does it matter if it’s someone that once knew you too well? I don’t think so (I would say that though).
With this urge to check-in and being emotionally unstable (plus tending to act on impulse); I dialled Mr M’s number.
As the phone rang, I felt this anxiety rise in my stomach.
“Maybe I don’t want to do this” I whispered to myself, quietly in my room.
I could just be emotional; I am reliving the past through therapy after all.
I hung up and told myself to leave this alone.
But, true to my nature, I tried again the next day. Once again, no answer. I was starting to feel like Adele in “Hello”, especially the part where she goes “Hello from the other side, I must’ve called a thousand times, to tell you I’m sorry…”
However, this time I did get an answer “Hey” he says.
I end up just blurting out “Hi! I need to talk to you as:
- A) I keep having dreams where you are in trouble, so I need to check: are you ok?
- B) I feel this intense guilt over how I left things with you and,
- C) I owe you an apology; I need to let you know that I’m sorry and I need to explain that our break up wasn’t because of Duck but because of me; it was my decision”
I continue babbling on “…I wanted to speak to you for years but I wasn’t allowed to thanks to a bad relationship. And I’m an idiot who is easily controlled. I’m sorry. My therapist told me recently that I am no longer under that control, and I can follow my feelings when it’s safe & healthy to do so, so here I am. Hi!”
He finally gets a chance to reply “Oh my god, you owe me nothing. There is no need to apologise. I know our break up wasn’t because of him. We were just too young”
Although he does admit his hatred for Duck, but also tells me that it’s because Duck was sending me inappropriate messages before we broke up. I was, and possibly still am, quite naïve; I didn’t realise that Duck had feelings for me at first, but Mr M saw this.
He then told me about a phone call between him & Duck (one I didn’t know about) and a certain fight in a member’s club in London (The morning after this fight, Duck emailed me blaming me for this incident and demanded an apology – this fight happened during a time that Duck & I were broken up; I was single and in South Africa at the time, but somehow he decided that it was my fault)
Anywhozzle, back to my story. My heart sunk and I felt like I was floating after hearing those words “you owe me nothing” and “there is no need to apologise”
My first thoughts were “I don’t need to feel guilty? He knows our break up had nothing to do with Duck?”
HERE’S SOME MORE BACKGROUND INFO
Mr M & I broke up because I was confused and needed some time alone. Plus, I was also struggling to have a normal relationship with him; he would often disappear or get into trouble and with me being way too emotional and sensitive, this behaviour was too much for me to handle. Now I know that my Personality Disorder was kicking in then and I was honestly feeling quite fucked up. I still am struggling (It’s kind of a lifelong thing), but now I have awareness, which is HUGE.
Unfortunately, the fact that I am mentally ill and unstable (still am) didn’t stop me from holding on to this guilt for years, I was sure that I was a bitch. It’s heartless to end a relationship and then not speak to that person again, right? (No, not right, but that’s how I felt). And now, here I was, being told that I didn’t need to feel this way. That I didn’t need to feel this gut wrenching guilt after all. It felt so surreal.
The difference would have been that, had I not gone straight into another relationship, then I wouldn’t have cut all contact with Mr M. This is quite a considerable difference in my mind. Also, something that contributes to the anger I feel towards Duck now. Especially seen as he was talking to every girl that crossed his path, virtually or in person, whilst being in a relationship with me.
BACK TO THE PHONE CALL
I end up pouring my heart out to Mr M. Talking to him felt so safe and comfortable.
I told him everything; the on & off toxic relationship with Duck; my mental ill health and some of my breakdowns. We even talked about my self-destructive habits. Finally, I brought up the guilt I felt throughout the years over how things ended with us. I let it all out.
Mr M told me about his life too. He is no longer the guy I dated all those years ago. He is still a sweetheart but a sweetheart who now struggles to be faithful & loyal to women. I find myself questioning if this is my fault from time to time.
We talked for hours, and he ended up providing me with some more much-needed validations (The first was that I didn’t need to feel guilty!) Now, he is horrified by everything that’s happened over the years, especially when it comes to my last relationship. Then he says “You are amazing. You were too good for me and you are too good for Duck. Don’t give in to him again. I was always in awe of you. I hope one day you realise how amazing you are, and never again let anyone take you for granted” Uh my mind goes KABOOM.
I was expecting to be met with all sorts of profanity from Mr M, so hearing nothing but kind words was quite a reality check. Often, I believe I’m a fuck-up and that everything is my fault (don’t try this at home), so these lovely words were like a huge bear hug.
Then, I learn that him and his ex-girlfriend broke up because he admitted that he was not ready for that relationship. I know, not the nicest thing to do, but hear me out; he did wrong by her, but he was honest in the end, and he left her alone.
In my case, Duck never gave me this chance; to hear the honest truth. And the times I did try to walk away, I was always brought back in some shitty way. To this day, I wonder what the hell happened during my relationship with Duck; the fuck ups I know of are ones I read about or found out about in some nasty way. He never told me anything. He lied throughout our relationship, I don’t think I even know the person I spent over a decade with (on & off, but still!)
That is sad.
WHAT A RELIEF
It’s like I needed this outlet. It’s so strange how talking to someone after a decade (ish) can provide you with a sense of relief nobody else could.
With this call, Mr M also showed me that not all guys are the same. I know what he did to his ex is wrong (we all make mistakes though, right?) but my history with him and this conversation showed me that:
- some people do treat you right and take care of you,
- some people break your heart and are honest about it,
- and some people, break your heart, control you but never leave you alone; you become their easy prey
I admit it, that is what I was to Duck; easy and convenient prey. Our relationship was far from okay, but I only realise this now. And this, my friends, is another validation that Mr M gave me; that Duck behaved badly and this was not the norm.
Although I must add that when my mental illness deteriorated, this meant that I was no longer easy & convenient. I was psycho. Seriously, I have (pseudo) psychosis type episodes. Therefore, Duck left me at home feeling suicidal and travelled to Cuba and America, and on a few occasions shouted “I don’t want to be made to feel guilty about going away!” when I called crying thanks to another meltdown or episode – I must point out that he went travelling but still wanted to stay together; we only broke up after he returned from trip number two (this was his millionth America trip, and it was particularly difficult as he went back to the same place he had previously cheated on me in – but that’s a story for another time.)
MORAL OF THE STORY
I’m grateful that I spoke to Mr M, it was so nice to talk to him. Also, our conversation provided me with validation I have desperately needed for years. Sometimes our emotions may know what we need better than we do. In these times, we should SO follow our feelings and see where they take us. If it’s safe & healthy, I am surfing with my emotional waves from now on, rather than swimming against them.
This conversation not only allowed me to catch up with an old friend, but it also helped me realise that I was starting to believe I did want to rekindle this old flame. After this chat, however, I know that in fact, it’s not about Mr M at all; it’s about me. I needed to explain myself and apologise for hurting him; to explain what happened all those years ago. I needed closure to close this chapter of my life properly.
Also, I realise now that I really really REALLY miss the girl from those days; the old me. Mr M and I had fun. We did become best friends (I know, such a cliché, but what a goodie!). For most of our time together, we did have a great, fun, innocent relationship. I miss that happy girl that felt safe in a relationship. Even though, right now I want to be alone (and I am FINALLY going to give myself this gift! I’m only a decade too late), that girl was doing better than I am. And I miss her.
I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, but if I could go back in time, I would ensure that I didn’t let go of my friendship with Mr M. Even with all our faults, we were there for each other, and I would much rather have that friendship than have experienced the relationship that I found myself in for over a decade.
I was a firm believer that once a relationship is over, then both (or all) parties must go their separate ways and pretend the other doesn’t exist. But, my opinion has changed drastically, and now, I wish I had that friendship and that I could unhurt someone I care about.
Although, saying that; I am glad I have finally let go of Duck.
Either way, I forgive myself for any wrongdoing on my part, when it comes to Mr M & I. I’m human, I was (way too) young, I made a mistake. I’ve been honest now and I am truly sorry.
But I’m moving on.
I don’t know if it’s my fault or not, or if my relationship with Mr M would have turned sour eventually anyway. I can’t know for sure, but at times, I do wonder: “Did my actions make Mr M hate women?”
I’ll let you know if I ever solve that one.