The Dumpee

I told Ray about John, my prom date, on the phone one night.

I was employing the tried and true (other than the fact that it never works) “get the boy jealous” philosophy.  I figured I’d tell him about this other boy who was interested in not only taking me to Prom, but judging by the smooch at the end of our double date last weekend, but also dating me.   I was irrevocably in love with Ray.

As I told Mr. H through another lunchtime counseling session, I just knew what potential he had.  When he wanted to be, Ray was so thoughtful and kind.  I could talk to him for hours on end, really talk about important things like the future and life and values.  I loved that he was Catholic and embraced his faith, even if he wasn’t following all of the tenets of it (obviously…).  I remember saying something like, “I just know the person he could be is so amazing.”  Classic.  Classic woman who wants to change her man philosophy.  And patient Mr. H, having suffered through a first marriage with a woman who believed the same about him, kindly told me that perhaps I should be focusing on the person he actually was.  You know, when someone shows you who they really are, you should believe them.

So, true to style, when Ray expressed relief rather than insane jealousy when I dropped my news about John, I was flabbergasted.  He told me he too had been seeing someone else, a girl named Jeannette from a local suburb.  She wasn’t me, of course, but she was close by and we were probably going to have to be honest with each other about the slim possibility of making a long distance relationship work.  He loved me, and all of that, but he had to be realistic.  He knew what he could handle, and what he needed, and when I was with him I was all of those things, but I was more often…not.   Not there.  Not available.  Not present.  And, no longer seen by him as his (only) girlfriend.

My head swam.  How could I have let this happen?  How could I have given a boy such power to hurt me?  I was lost and unable to understand how to handle this.  I’d broken up with boys, not the other way around.  It was one thing when a boy didn’t choose you in the first place, but it was quite another after you were certain that the boy had chosen you and then he went back on his words.

I felt like I was drowning.  I knew on some level that this wasn’t the end of the world, but in my head at that moment, it felt like it was.  I didn’t know what to do.  When I went to hang up the phone, Ray waited for me to hang up first, same as always.  A full minute of, “No, you first” ensued until he actually took my advice and hung up first, before me.

I cried myself to sleep.  I hated Jeannette.  I hated Ray.  And more than anything else, I hated myself for not being enough.

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