Monday, March 23, 2009

The rest of the story, because I promised it to you. But then, back to our regularly scheduled frivolity, I hope.

All right; I owe you an update. I just wish I could decide how many words and how much energy to devote to said update. If you are on the Stefanie Says distribution list, you already read the whole sordid story last Friday, in the latest email blast. I'm kidding, of course. There is no such distribution list. I did, however, send a very long, very angry message to several friends detailing the whole ordeal. Seriously, people, it was so long, it could have been divvied into chapters. At the very least, there should have been headings and subheadings. Girl obviously had a whole lot on her mind, and apparently decided she simply needed to let it OUT.

Last Friday, I was so hurt and so angry, I wanted to tell all of you publicly on the Internet that The Buddhist's real name is Jimmy ______, and that now that he is partially employed again, you can perhaps find him at the __________ ______ store on ________. Also, that he is being kicked out of the Buddhist Center (for failure to pay rent and other transgressions) and is now staying at his new girlfriend's house, and that her name is _____ ____, and she lives at ____ ______ ___ in Minneapolis.

That's right, I said new girlfriend. Guess that explains the vanishing act, eh?

Except that it doesn't, of course. The fact that he apparently met someone far more fabulous (or possibly, far more dysfunctional) than I during the four freaking days that I was out of the country last month doesn't actually justify disappearing on me five days after that with no explanation or notice. I can only assume even The Buddhist himself knows that kind of jackassery was unjustified, as he had almost nothing to say for himself when we finally talked last week.

Did I mention that if I tell this story, there will likely be swearing? If I tell this story, there will likely be swearing. I'm sorry; it's all good and fine to be one of those graceful, even-keeled people who feel they can express themselves far more eloquently and dignified-like without resorting to profanity. I am not one of those people, for sometimes a well placed "Jackass fucker shithead" seems entirely more than apropos to me.

I didn't actually call him a jackass fucker shithead. I did, however, call him an asshole. To his face. Which is something I don't think I've ever done to anyone before. And the fact that I'm starting to feel just a teensy bit guilty about that makes me wonder if perhaps my anger is possibly cooling just a tad. And then I remind myself that The Buddhist is, in fact, an asshole (and a liar and a player and a flake, all of which I also called him)--or at least, has been insofar as I have been privy to see--and as such, maybe I should allow myself the luxury of not feeling guilty at all.

Six paragraphs in and still no real story. Clearly this post is turning out to be just as to-the-point and efficient as that email was. Good work, Stef.

Actually, the full story doesn't even really matter, I suppose. The short of it is that he met someone else at a party--a party I can only assume I would have been at with him, had I not been partaking in forced socialization with my coworkers that particular weekend. He met her, and he apparently fell head-over-heels into some instantaneous relationship with her, and saw no reason to tie up any loose ends or keep any promises upon doing so. It was convenient timing, given that his fellow Buddhists held an intervention of sorts that same week, which apparently culminated in him being asked to leave the house in light of his not paying rent for the past two months, owing nearly everyone there money, and abandoning the meditation practice that bound him to the group and also grounded and centered him in an obviously important and useful way. I can only assume the new girl was happy to take him in, given that her previous boyfriend apparently moved out mere days before she met Jimmy. Perhaps they are perfect for each other. Neediness and codependence is a recipe for relationship success, is it not? I expect I'll be able to find their registry at Crate & Barrel any day now, no?

I didn't find any of this out from Jimmy himself, of course. No, all of this information came courtesy of a friend and roommate of his who was kind enough to fill me in when she realized he hadn't, despite him specifically telling her not to. She offered to meet me for drinks to lend some insight, and as luck or misfortune had it, Jimmy himself decided to get a drink at that very same bar the same evening. It shouldn't have been a surprise, given that it's a bar where he is so much a regular, his profile actually suggests that anyone interested in meeting him might find him there. He hadn't gone in weeks, though, according to his friend and roommate. "He won't be there," she assured me.

He was there, of course, as was his new girlfriend. When he saw me, he was surprisingly unfazed. In fact, after telling me that our relationship was "absolutely" working for him and then subsequently vanishing on me a week later, his only words to me that night (after a chipper "Hi guys") were, "Happy birthday!" Happy birthday. Not on my actual birthday, even, (on my actual birthday he was still AWOL) but on the day after. Happy birthday. I've decided that this shall be the new phrase of choice in any situation where I am in any way tongue-tied, out of line, or wrong. No need for discussion, apologies, or the like. Just "Happy birthday!" It's appropriate in any number of awkward situations. Try it yourself the next time you've been a total ass to someone you know and have claimed to care about.

We talked for a while. Or rather, *I* talked. He said nearly nothing. When I replay those several minutes in my head, I still can't believe he looked at me as blank-faced and expressionless as he did. I may have actually said at one point, "Have you lost your soul??" It was maddening and baffling. I couldn't believe I was looking at the same person who kissed me in my kitchen as he left just a few weeks ago. I don't know what happened to him. I don't know where the Jimmy I knew (or thought I knew) went. It was almost eerie, frankly. Something is going on with him. Something besides a new girlfriend. But obviously I'm not going to be the one still around to find out what.

From everyone I've told this story to, the reaction has been the same. I dodged a bullet. I'm better off without him. I'm too good for him. And while I know they're right, none of those words really help. If I'm better off without him, why am I so hurt and angry that it ended this way? If he's not good enough for me, why was he the one who deserted me, instead of the other way around? He's the loser, and yet, he had two women willing to be with him at the same time. How is that in any way fair or sensical? None of these are new questions, of course. But that doesn't make them any less maddening.

It sounds so ridiculous now, but I thought we had a connection. I thought we had chemistry. I wanted to believe all the wonderful things he said. I wanted to believe he'd actually grown up a lot since we knew each other last. That I was apparently wrong about all of that makes me lose hope and distrust my instincts. More importantly, though, it makes me want to retract every fond thing I ever wrote about him--every past entry where I mentioned his name (not just since January, but in the four years prior). I want to insert an "edited to add..." note on the posts where I said we should have met five or ten years later to say, "WRONG! Once a flake, always a flake, my friend."

I've done a lot of dating, as anyone who's read this blog for very long knows. A lot. Both the upside and the downside to all that dating is that it's hardened and desensitized me a bit. I don't get easily invested. It takes more to get to me. Small transgressions don't bother me much; I've grown to expect them, in fact. That may make it harder for me to let any right guy in and past the shell, but it protects me from a lot of needless "But why didn't he call?" cries as well. The bigger transgressions, though? The ones that come after I have let someone in? Those hurt more each time. The cumulative effect is wearying. Each chink in the armor comes closer to totally destroying it and breaking me. I grow more jaded, more cynical, more slow to trust. I've become a fucking movie/sitcom cliche.

I honestly don't mind being alone. I'm used to it. I'm good at it. Being alone I can deal with. Being hurt and disappointed is what I'm tired of.

This is quickly taking a direction I didn't mean to turn, so I'll wrap this up before I peer any deeper into the damn Bell Jar.

I started this post two days ago, and I actually almost deleted nearly all of it tonight. I don't want to think about this anymore. I finally know what happened, which means I can stop wondering if there was some legitimate reason he vanished on me (something of the head injury or life's rock bottom variety) or if he honestly did just flake out on me with total careless disregard. Now that I know it was the latter, I can be angry and feel justified in the anger. The anger will eventually lift and I'll move on. The wondering would have nagged at me for life.

Friday night I did the crazy person inside myself a favor. I went to Jimmy's Facebook profile and clicked the "Remove from Friends" link. It's the first time I've ever clicked that link, and part of me wondered if it was too hasty. Once it's done, it can't be undone, and maybe somewhere down the line, I'll want to torture myself by spying on his life without me. I'd like to think I'm the grown-up in this situation, though, and letting him disappear seemed like the far more grown-up (and sane) thing to do. It was almost liberating. "Remove from Friends." Gone. Now if only there were a "Remove from Memory" link as well.


Bob said...

I think you might be so mad because you are smarter than letting yourself believe things that may not have been true, and maybe your kicking yourself in the ass for it, more than you are actually mourning over a lost relationship. You certainly aren't mad because he's not the one. Just be ok with making mistakes. What would you have been doing during that time if he hadn't been around? I think you had fun, you need to stop punishing yourself for not making a permanent relationship out of an annoying zit, and think of all the battery power you saved. :)
< /unsolicited advice >

-Stef from DSM

Anonymous said...

Sorry this happened to you. Sending happy, healing thoughts your way!

PS- asshole was a really elegant choice in this situation. Free your mind of guilt!

-R- said...

I wish you weren't second guessing yourself because you are a smart and fun person. My unsolicited opinion is that Jimmy may be a good person, but he is a HORRIBLE boyfriend. It is ok to be angry. It is ok to call him an asshole. I think it's really cool that you told him what an asshole he is being, and I think his reaction showed you that you would not want to be with him anyway.

I'm always happy to let you vent to me.

nancypearlwannabe said...

As I said in my email, I think the best way to help you past this situation is to have another blogger meet-up. Let's plan for May! Then we all have something to look forward to!

And also, Jimmy _________ is a total asshole. No guilt required.

3carnations said...

I've got to possibly disagree with -R-'s opinion that Jimmy is a good person. Do unto others, and all that? That doesn't have good person written all over it. Although, people make mistakes, and I suppose I shouldn't label him as "bad" because of a single (huge, uncalled for, shockingly horrible) mistake.

There is obviously something not right with him. To meet, fall in love (or something) with someone and move in with them while the person you are seeing is gone for several days? All I can say is that girl shouldn't ever plan on taking a trip without him.

I was going to say if there is a Stefanie Says distribution list, I'd like to be on it, but apparently there is not.

The thing that bothers me most? He stirred up a whole new type of distrust in you with which the next guy is going to have to deal. That seems so unfair. That distrust should somehow belong solely to Jimmy.

(on an off note, when I typed "Jimmy", all I could think of was that Seinfeld where Elaine meets the guy who always talks in third person and she doesn't realize he is talking about himself: "Jimmy likes Elaine.")

Mair said...

Oof, girl. I'm really sorry it went down like that. When I build the next facebook, there will be a "remove from memory" box, much like that one movie with jim Carey and Kate winslet whose name escapes me now. Until then, I second that's he's a jackass shithead, and I agree that it's completely unfair that you're the one left with the Hirt while he sails along unknowingly. It'll catch up to him, though; it always does.

-R- said...

Just to clarify - I have no idea if he's a good person. I just meant that he might be a good person, except in the boyfriend dept.

Sarah B. said...

Since he's a Buddhist and believes in reincarnation, at least you can take comfort that at the rate he's going in this life, he'll come back as something fun (like a dungbeetle) in his next. He is an asshole, but don't let that carry over to the next guy. There are some really great ones out there, and while they are hard to find sometimes, that only increases their value when you do find them. Hang in there!

NGS said...

Ohhhh...I'm so sorry. I'm sending you happy vibes and hope that you are feeling happier soon.

And, yeah, totally release yourself of guilt. Sometimes people need to be told they're assholes!!

lizgwiz said...

Give yourself permission to feel angry as long as you feel angry. You have every right. Those of us in the lynch mob are angry right along with you, you know. :)

Do NOT let him make you feel guilty in any way. I think you went easy on him, all things considered.

I "removed" a facebook "friend" for the first time, too. I decided if "Brandon Walsh/Steve Sanders" couldn't respond politely to my offer to at least be friends (which he never did), he wasn't going to get to know what I eat for breakfast every day. That'll show him! ;)

kwr221 said...

Ouch. That sucks.

No, HE sucks.


courtney said...

OH HELL NO. New girlfriend? Happy birthday?!? I think you are perfectly justified in calling him an asshole. He deserved it.

I know you've heard it before, but you really are too good for him. Much too good. I think the hurt and disppointment you're feeling is not because you're not with him, but because you know you don't deserve to be treated that way. It's natural, and I'm glad you're taking an adult approach and cutting ties altogether.

Don't worry; I know your Edward is out there somewhere. (Shit, how did Twilight get in here?) :)

Jess said...

I'm glad you didn't delete this. It was so enlightening. What a fuckface. This whole thing reminds me of that bullshit Karl pulled on Alice. Remember that? Why is that someone can be such an asshole and yet the person they're treating badly is the one who feels bad after? It's because you're NOT an asshole, and the side effect of not being an asshole is that you have feelings and they can be hurt, but that is worth it in order to not be an asshole, you know? You did dodge a bullet but it's still OK to feel hurt, because it's very upsetting to find out that what you thought about someone was totally wrong, you know? And all those happy feelings feel like they're just fake because they were about someone who turned out to be a nasty asshole bullet.

I feel certain that karma will bite him in the ass.

Alice said...

ha, i was just about to talk about my dear friend karl myself. basically though: i know that shitty feeling well. and while jimmy IS an asshole (obvs), what hurt me a lot in my situation (and sounds similar to you) was that karl actually WASN'T an asshole. not while we were dating, not the way he treated me. he was a really great, wonderful boyfriend.. right up until the very last second when HA HA i'm leaving you for another woman even though 35 seconds ago i told you i wanted to spend the rest of my life with you OOPS. so clearly: asshole. except the thing that made it hurt so much more was that he WASN'T an asshole, not the guy i knew and had dated and had opened up to and given my love to.

so. yeah. the whole asshole dichotomy (and the OMG IF HE'S SUCH AN ASSHOLE WHY IS HE THE ONE WITH A NEW GF ALREADY thing) sucks. i'm sorry :-(

abbersnail said...

A. I think the term "asshole" is really quite generous of you.
2. I would very much like to kick the shit out of that manchild right now.
D. Thank GOD you aren't the one having to deal with his complete maturity meltdown right now. Is it OK to say that? I am just really glad that you're not the one whose life/finances/living situation he is highly likely to send into ruin within the next few months.

Stefanie said...

Stef--That's probably part of it, but I think I'm also mad/disappointed that I held onto all those mostly positive thoughts about him over the years, thinking that if we'd met at another point in our lives, it really could have worked, and it turns out all that wondering was for nothing, as eight years later, when he's supposed to be a full-fledged grown-up, he actually treated me WORSE than the first time. Grr.

Monkey--Thanks. That seems to be the general consensus. I guess it doesn't matter anyway. Obviously all that pot fried the guy's brain so he doesn't remember anything I say (or anything HE said), so he probably doesn't even remember I called him an asshole at this point. :-(

R--The thing is, both this time and last time, he was a really GOOD boyfriend initially. Apparently that good phase just has a really short shelf life. With me, anyway. This new girl? Who the hell knows. I suppose since he's homeless without her, he'll try harder? Good luck with that, dude.

NPW--Do you remember that our last meetup was a year ago this weekend?? I would definitely love to see you again soon. We'll talk more.

3Cs--He may not be a BAD person, but he's a careless one. More so than I realized, I guess. And it's funny you mention the Seinfeld reference. I always did feel a little silly calling someone I was dating "Jimmy," but there wasn't much I could do about that.

Mair--I believe you're referring to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and I think the point of it was that memories are worth holding on to, so I guess I should rethink that part. Maybe I just want to erase our do-over, not the whole memory of him. Despite what I said in January about not caring if this went anywhere, I'm thinking now I was probably better off not even having this reunion. Or not. Hell, who knows.

R--I knew what you meant. :-) Got it.

Sarah--Someone else I know said cockroach, so you're on the same page. And I will try not to let it carry over, but it's hard not to get more and more jaded over time. It's a delicate balance, the trust vs. guardedness thing.

NGS--Thanks. I'm sort of surprised not a single person yet has said that yeah, the asshole thing was harsh or low. Glad, but surprised.

Liz--That WILL show him! I enjoy seeing what you're having for breakfast each day!! :-)

kwr221--Indeed. What sucks more is that *I* am the one feeling sucky, though. But I guess we've already covered that.

Courtney--Ha! Those crazy Mormon vampires DO have a way of working themselves into more areas of your life than you expect, don't they?

Jess--That pretty much nails it. Assholes have all the luck, don't they? (Soooo not the point. I'm kidding.)

Alice--That's it exactly. If he had been an asshole the whole time I was with him, I never would have been WITH him! It sucks when they trick you like that. :-(

Abbersnail--Manchild is a good word. And is it wrong that I'm sort of hoping D. happens? It's wrong, isn't it? Sorry. Forget I said that.

Sauntering Soul said...

Oh. My. Asshole is much too kind of a word for Jimmy.

After I got divorced I was working through a ton of anger. I began going to counseling and she suggested I use a pillow and punch the hell out of it and scream my head off into it whenever the anger was about to boil over. I highly recommend it.

I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Shelly said...

Wow. He is a complete douche. You were right to call him an asshole and I'm proud of you for doing it. I never have the balls to say thing like that.

flurrious said...

I feel like the "Hi guys! Happy Birthday!" tells me what I need to know about Jimmy. If he can mistreat you that blatantly then act like nothing's wrong when he sees you, there's something just the tiniest bit sociopathic about the boy, methinks. (And I hardly ever bust out a "methinks," so clearly I am pissed, but in a somewhat archaic way!) I think it's good that you let him have it, profanity and all. He might not let on that it bothered him, but you know that at some point when he's messed things up for himself yet again, he'll remember what you said and realize that he is indeed a complete fuckwit.

Bob said...

OMIGOD I figured it out!!
Now you won't wonder. You wondered all those years, and now you know, and when it's 5AM and you haven't gotten a wink of sleep because kiddo #1 has been having nightmares, and kiddo #2 is still breastfeeding and is hungry every two hours, and your dear hubby wants ten more minutes of sleep, you will never say to yourself: Self, I wonder what would have happened if I had met up with Jimmy at a different place in life.

This was what you needed to find out before you met your true love, so you wouldn't doubt it!!

OK, also, I'm watching Princess Bride.

Miss Pants said...

Jimmy ______ is a #1 liar jackass fucker shithead. I am so sorry you got caught up in his lies! I know how horrible it is to have someone disappear on you...especially when you have a lot dating experience and feel that rare flicker of potential. True he is not good enough for you, but that doesn't make it hurt less. Be as angry as you need and as horrible as this sounds, that miserable assclown will get his.