Being dumped sucks. It sucks like Paris Hilton at a G8 summit. Wait, why would Paris Hilton be at a G8 summit? I need to work on my analogies… And my attention span.
So, there was only one other boyfriend before Jack. I was fourteen years old. We only communicated via awkward texts and couldn’t actually converse in person at all. I wasn’t attracted to him and only dated him because he was very popular and I was told by oh, everyone, that I’d be an idiot to say no to him. I also have always been pretty bad at saying no. Don’t believe me? Well, that’s ok. Let’s not fight. Plus I was fourteen, I believed that I couldn’t walk past Mr. O’ Brien’s house without being abducted by pirates.
The thing is, even though spending time with him was excruciating (think Lisa Simpson going over to Nelson’s house and seeing his “nuke the whales” poster, we had ZERO in common), I couldn’t break up with him. I was a shy and awkward teenager. I would have had to face him on the school bus with all his uber-popular pals and they probably would’ve made fun of me. Given that I wasn’t exactly Regina George, I couldn’t let that happen.
I felt bad. He seemed genuinely into me. How, I really don’t know. And I’m not being disingenuous when I say that. I never spoke to him, we never laughed together and I wasn’t very receptive to him either. I used to hum the theme tune to ‘Friends’ repeatedly in my head while in his presence. I suppose he mistook physical attraction and infatuation for ‘love’, as teenagers often do. I received constant texts informing me that he “loved me” and that we would be “together forever”. I would text back, affirming my “feelings” even though I knew I was lying. I wasn’t being cruel; I knew he didn’t love me either. The problem was, he thought he did.
About eight months later (yep, this went on for EIGHT MONTHS and we remained as awkward with each other as ever), I got a very abrupt text: “it’s ovar” (sic) (he failed English and I now teach it, see…it never would’ve worked).
My reaction surprised me. I was upset. No, I was DEVASTATED. A mixture of regret, humiliation, anger and confusion washed over me. HE had dumped ME. I was incredulous.
“How could he do this?” I raged to one of my friends. She looked a lot less sympathetic than I would have liked.
“But you never loved him. In fact, you barely even *liked* him.”
It was true. But I still hadn’t wanted to hurt him. Now, I was the one receiving sympathetic looks off half of my school and smug smirks from the other half. I was hurt and embarrassed. I was angry that I hadn’t taken the initiative and dumped him first, as selfish as that sounds. He moved on pretty quickly too, and that hurt even more. Looking back, it was my ego that suffered. I liked being showered with compliments and saying that I had a boyfriend. I was immature and selfish.
A year later, I met Jack and things were very, very different. But Jack’s probably reading this with his big ego so I’ll say this: Jack, make the dinner.
I am glad of that first foray into boyfriend territory because it taught me a lot. I learned that a relationship takes the work of two people: not one fawning all over another. I also learned that compatibility is really important.
I met the guy about ten years after we broke up. He approached me in a bar, and we had a nice chat. I realised that I had an opportunity to ask him something that had really bothered me a decade before: “why did you break up with me?” He laughed and looked genuinely surprised.
“What? You mean you cared?” I wanted to tell him that yes I did, but for the wrong reasons. But that wouldn’t have achieved anything, so I nodded and wished him well.
So I guess what I’m saying is that although I didn’t love the guy, being dumped was still really crap. And I learned a lot. Have you a break-up story? Please share so I can laugh at you. Did I say that? I meant, feel for you. Ahem.