Friday, November 14, 2008

The one I used to think was The One

First off, let's call this my official post for November 14, shall we? I did start it on November 14, so let's just ignore the fact that we are now into the wee hours of November 15 (for reasons quickly pounded out in post I actually DID publish before midnight tonight), OK? Can we do that? Oh, I know NaBlo has RULES (or rather, one very simple, relatively easy-to-abide-by rule), but whatever. I'd still have an hour and a half if I were on the west coast. What up, Heather... Steve... Melissa? How's it going out there in Pacific Standard Time?

Anyway, moving on. If by chance you and I are Facebook friends, then perhaps you noticed I changed my status earlier this evening to "Stefanie is feeling some schadenfreude, but is feeling more than a bit guilty about it." I have been trying to decide for several hours now whether this is fair game for blogging or not, but the problem is, it's a fine line, really. This month will likely be full of stories that I maybe shouldn't tell (or at least, shouldn't tell with real names applied). That didn't stop me when talking about Sheep Testicles Guy; why should it stop me now?

Cutting to the chase here, because it is very late and I have had two margaritas and two and a half butternut squash enchiladas (sidenote: YUM), and I am tired and full and frankly still just a wee bit drunk, so really I should definitely be in bed. First, though, the story behind the status.

I found out tonight that my ex-boyfriend... the ex-boyfriend... the one who at the time I thought was supposed to be the ONE... the ex-boyfriend who got married a year ago (and had the nerve to invite me to the wedding)... is separated. SEPARATED. As in, on the likely path to divorce. After only a year. Apparently his new wife cheated on him a mere four months into their marriage and has recently moved out completely. And while now, hours later, I can look on this with a heart and genuinely feel bad for him, I would be lying if I said my very first reaction wasn't a gasp and a jaw drop and a more-upbeat-than-I'm-proud-of "I KNEW it!!!"

I'm only human (obviously), and I think it's only unfortunately natural that when someone abandons your heart and leaves you broken and alone, there's a part of you that wants to see him hurt, too. It's not right; it's not kind; it is what it is. But if I drag myself beyond that petty (and really, pointless, by this time) bitterness, I can't help but remind myself that this particular ex-boyfriend is a genuinely good person. That he's kind and smart and was very good to me for a good long time, and that he didn't break my heart or stop loving me on purpose. I need to remember that, because it's been easy, since we broke up, to forget it.

I didn't want him to marry some obnoxious, skanky, and dim-witted girl two-thirds his age. (I have met her and I've seen her mySpace page; I'll admit I'm biased, but still, I didn't just pull those adjectives out of nowhere.) I didn't understand how someone who once loved me could also love her. Even worse, that he could love her more. It didn't make sense, and hence, I didn't want it to work out. But I also didn't want to see him facing a second divorce to a second wife who cheated on him. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. (Wait. Would I? I'd have to think about that.)

When I considered writing about this earlier tonight, the post in my head was far more mean-spirited. I'm actually pretty glad I put off this evening's post as long as I did, because human and natural or not, I wouldn't have felt good about that. While part of me wants to picture my ex-boyfriend sad and alone tonight, the way I was for so many, many Friday nights after our breakup, I'm also aware that really doesn't solve anything.

In the spirit of taking the high road, then (after admittedly taking the catty, cold-hearted low path at first), today's NaBlo date story will be about my first date with my apparently soon-to-be-divorced ex.

Scratch that. The story will be about one of our first dates. He and I were friends first, and hence, the time line's always been fuzzy. Was the first time we made social plans alone together our first date, even though it was under the guise of "just friends"? Or the night, a year and a half later, when he invited me over to watch a movie (something he'd done tens of times before) and I realized he'd made a complicated three-course meal rather than just baked a pizza? At the end of that night, I said to him, "I know we do this all the time, but this one really felt like a date." And he replied, "Yeah, it did." And I said, "So... are we dating now?" And he said, "I think so. Is that OK?" I'm not sure how I would have figured out that he was finally my boyfriend if I hadn't outright asked, but regardless, I suppose that night could have been our first date, too. The one I'm thinking of now, though, was several months after that strange and long-overdue proclamation.

We had been out to dinner on a random week night, just talking about nothing in particular, and somehow the topic of first dates came up. In the course of that conversation, I said, "I never actually had a first date with you..." and he cocked his head, in thinking mode, and said, "I guess you're right. We really didn't..."

Two days later, he sent me an email. "I've been thinking about our conversation the other night, and I would like to take you on a date." He made reservations at a fancy-schmancy place in downtown St. Paul that sadly is now out of business. He showed up at my apartment in a button-up shirt fully buttoned and tucked in. He brought flowers, and he told me I looked nice. And when I told him, at the end of the night, "I'm sorry; I don't put out on the first date," my boyfriend of five months (pseudo-almost-boyfriend of the year and a half prior) just smiled and kissed me and said, "I understand. Good night." (Full disclosure: I had a doctor's appointment the next morning and he had a tee time at some ungodly early hour, so he likely wouldn't have spent the night anyway. Still, it was cute.)

So that is the boyfriend I should remember, not the one who broke my heart seemingly without ever looking back. Or, you know, not, because remembering that guy just makes me miss him, and missing the guy who broke one's heart is really rarely EVER a good plan. So it's back to the schadenfreude. In alternating spurts, anyway. Surely that's only fair.


MplsMel said...

I now understand your Facebook comment. I would feel that way too. It is sad about the ex-boyfriend though. Perhaps he will now realize what he left behind.

Aaron said...

This was well written, thoughtful, kinda sad, and I'm guessing that almost all of your readers can relate in some way. That's all. I'll save my usual snarky comments for another post. :)

Anonymous said...

In this situation, schadenfreude = the most natural feeling in the world. He loved and lost, twice.

Mickey said...

You did a good job staying away from mean-spiritedness. It ended up being a cute story.

NGS said...

Oh, yeah. We can all relate. When I went to a Subway to order a sandwich and found my ex who broke up with me because I was "too ambitious," I kind of smirked. But I was kind of sad, too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mickey. And I also agree that it is natural to feel a little bit smug. Hell, I probably would have called all my friends to gloat because I am mean that way.

Anonymous said...

It is a very cute date story. And I think a little bit of restrained gloating is perfectly fine. He doesn't know, so it won't hurt him, and you know you'll be gracious when you run into him in the future, so there's really nothing to feel guilty about.

Courtney said...

That's a really nice story. Past relationships are always bittersweet, but at least that's better than just bitter.

Anonymous said...

(FYI: this is a different "stef" from the blog author. just wanted to get that out of the way.)

i've been reading your blog for awhile now, and i'll admit, a good portion of it is because our names are spelled alike, which is rather uncommon.

but this post really brought to surface some of the feelings i had/have about my ex ("the one") as well. it's the same story, only he just recently married her, and she's not really obnoxious, skanky or dim-witted, but perhaps a bit insecure (as apparently he stopped speaking to me at her request because...i might try to get him back?).

at any rate, if my ex were to end up single again, i'd have to say that, like you, i'd be going back and forth between fond memories and schadenfreude. it's definitely fair, and i'm sure that you're not the only person who's ever felt that way.

thanks for your post. :)

Stefanie said...

Thanks, everyone. It's good to know I'm not the only one guilty of feeling amused and vindicated at someone else's misfortune.

NGS--Too ambitious?? That's absurd. (It's also something NO ONE would ever accuse ME of.) ;-)

R--I didn't say I didn't call anyone to gloat... ;-)

Stef--Another one?? That makes at least five of us here now! Crazy.
I guess Stefs-with-an-F aren't as rare as we thought!