My Big Gay Breakup
Last year, my fiancee and I split up.
The drama that ensued was beyond any of my wildest dreams. I would equate it to a dumpster fire of an L Word episode. For the first time in my life during a breakup, I decided to be the bigger person. I never did like that phrase. Especially in a fat-phobic society, I think the term needs updating. Outdated term or not, that’s what I was going to be; the bigger person. The biggest person you ever saw. I was. I still am. But now I find myself wondering if it’s worth it.
Five months have passed since the breakup. I did everything I thought was “right.” My friends and family told me how proud they were of me for how I handled the situation and how grateful I would be later for not being a shitty person. I don’t feel that way. Not yet, anyway. I’ve had to start my life over before. Each time as I slowly begin reassembling the pieces that I destroyed, I feel horrible. I was an awful person those times. I wasn’t this time, and I still feel bad.
I want to be clear, I take ownership of my part in the breakup. I kissed someone else. I really liked this person. They weren’t interested in me, which I figured was what I deserved. Even before that, I knew the split was inevitable because there were many other things in our relationship that were beyond reconciliation. But then one night as I was sleeping, my ex went through my phone and found out. She lost it. She texted my friends and my family. She kicked me out of my house, kept my furniture and my dog. I figured I probably deserved that, too.
But then she stole my money. She started dragging my name through the mud all over social media. She made cruel videos about me. She was so careless, she posted a timestamped photo of her and her new girlfriend in the bed that I paid for dated the morning after she kicked me out. This was war. No, not this time. This time, I would be the bigger person. That will show her! And I’m going to feel great doing it.
I do feel good in the sense that I’m not giving her what she expected, which was a complete meltdown. It has been gratifying to get texts from friends saying her social media presence is “vile” and “desperate.” But I still cannot shake the feeling that she’s won. I feel it when I see people liking her posts, with the dog I named and picked out. Nothing in her life has changed, really. She had a replacement for me waiting in the wings. Everything in my life was turned on its head. It’s the most stressed I’ve been in my entire life. She seems fine.
I know I can be a vindictive person. Maybe that’s why I am struggling so much. I think if any situation in my life warranted me going full throttle bitch, it would have been this. There is no way of knowing if I would be feeling better now had I sunk to her level. An unfortunate skill I have is being able to destroy people verbally. I did not use it. I think about the things I wanted to say to her and I nearly wish I had. Then I remember the messages I’ve received where people tell me how much better I’m coming off publicly, and that she’s destroying her own reputation. That does feel good. But it also would have felt good to attack her insecurities. Which one feels better? It might be a wash.
I find myself wondering when the “good” feeling is going to set in. Perhaps I’m just impatient. But I wasn’t mean. I didn’t make any hateful posts about her, even though they would have been deserved. I am trying to be above all that. I am trying to focus on myself. I’ve picked up some new hobbies. I might be in the best shape of my life. I have my own place and a job that I don’t hate. Why do I still feel so shitty?
Every breakup is different. Unfortunately this one may be too fresh to offer up any sort of advice. Usually I would say, just take what I do and do the exact opposite. Most of my past breakups I treated as ambushes that I would implement when least expected so I could be out the door before I had to see the carnage left in my wake. Simply walking away after having a nearly successful attempt at ruining my life is something I thought I wasn’t capable of. If anything, the growth feels pretty good. But it has been hard. If that’s the route you choose to take, know that you’re in for it. And the rate of return is incredibly slow.
There is a part of me that thinks maybe I have deserved it all. I’ve carried around decades worth of shame and guilt like they were worth something. I haul it around from one disaster to the next because I think I deserve to be burdened by it. Maybe subconsciously, I knew the most amount of pain I could inflict upon myself would be being the bigger person. I’m used to instant gratification. Being the bigger person is playing the long game. Waiting around for this moment of feeling better that may never arrive is kind of just more suffering. And maybe that’s what I deserve. There’s that fucking word again.
Perhaps I’m just overthinking. I have a tendency to do that with almost everything. Maybe I’m just feeling shitty because breakups are…shitty. The timing has not been great (then again, when is it) to be freshly single after seven years in the middle of a pandemic. I have to dig deep, but I still have a tiny sliver of hope left that walking away from this with my head held high will have been worth it. The way I’ve handled myself does not keep me up at night. I sleep just fine.
I bet she does, too.