It’s officially fall here in the City of Brotherly Love. I know this because A) I’m back at my favorite coffee shop drinking my first non-iced mocha of the season, B) I’m wearing two shirts, a pair of fleece pants, a scarf and I’m still cold and C) I’ve received yet another Facebook friend request from one of my ex-boyfriends.
It’s been almost five year since we broke up and aside from one rather ill-fated relapse over Memorial Day Weekend several years ago, we’ve not seen each other since.
So why the annual Facebook message? Well, we first met during the fall of my senior year. We spent Thanksgiving together not once but twice and whenever the coffee shops start rolling out their pumpkin lattes, I can’t help but remember those lazy weekends when we’d go apple picking or hiking or shopping for Halloween costume accessories together.
Fall was our time, and as such I’ll always think of him when autumn rolls around, just as I’ll always think of another of my ex-boyfriends over the holidays. So why do I consistently ignore his Facebook requests?
Well, our break up was messy. Messier than most, mainly because he wasn’t an asshole and it’s rather difficult to remain firm in your resolve when the guilty party isn’t particularly guilty. As a result, however, he quit his job, sold his house, moved across the country and spent the next several months engaging in exactly the sort of post-break behavior that men hoping to win their girlfriends back should not engage.
As for me? Well, I rebounded, then rebounded with the man in question when the rebound fell apart, then moved to London where I proceeded to date a number of unsavory characters.
The only problem with dating unsavory characters (aside from the obvious issues of heartbreak, irreparable damage to one’s self esteem, secondhand smoke and other assorted maladies) is that they tend to make decent guys look extremely decent by comparison.
So decent, in fact, that it becomes difficult to remember why on earth you broke up with them in the first place.
And so it was that I decided to send an email—an email which I’ve regretted ever since I sat down at the Wandsworth Library to write it.
I was lonely. I was confused. I was trying to ignore the emails that kept arriving from the US (and had done just that for the past year and a half) but finally I caved. Only I didn’t see it as caving—I saw it as coming to my senses. My visa would expire, I would go back to the US and we would pick up right where we’d left off, only each of us would be older and wiser than we had been before so we wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.
Well folks, I was wrong. In fact, I started seeing someone else shortly thereafter but not before the man in question received my note. (And, in my infinite wisdom, I had signed it with the “L” word).
We volleyed a few emails back and forth and I quickly realized I’d made a terrible mistake. It came as little surprise that his final response, which arrived a few weeks later, contained the “F” word. We’ve not spoken since, and our entire relationship has come to consist of him sending friend requests and me ignoring them.
It’s difficult to fathom how I’ve reached this point with a man I once thought I’d marry. I had a drawer at his place, including toiletries, and… well… not to be superficial, but we looked good together. So good, in fact, that it often took him longer to do his hair than it took me to do mine (there’s a problem when your boyfriend has more styling product than you do).
I still wonder where he is, how he is, if he’s finally met a woman who’s ready to settle down and have children and, above all, if he’s happy. I don’t think he reads this blog or even knows about my “experiment” (in fact, for his sake, I hope he doesn’t) but seeing as telling him this would only serve to reopen a wound which I’m hoping has finally begun to heal, I’ll tell the rest of you instead:
I ignore your Facebook requests not because I never loved you, but because I did.