I have a bounty of exes, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, now even an ex-husband.
In short, I’m a lot of people’s crazy ex.
I love so hard it hurts.
I spent my childhood terribly lonely. I was out in the country, far from my school friends. The other members of my household found me obnoxious and weird, and I was often encouraged to hold my tongue, tone my behavior down, or go away.
I’d lie in bed and talk to the wall, pretending I had a best friend. We’d kick up our legs and make a blanket tent. Sometimes he was a girl. Sometimes she was a boy – but I was always loved, Breathing the stale air under the comforter and feeling this phantom presence.
I dreamed of a Great Love, that person I could say anything to and would know where I was coming from, patient, kind, passionate, intense. I wanted harmony, intimacy. A mutual admiration society. I wanted someone I could pleasure until the brink of disintegration, someone who would tell me their secrets and who I could entrust with mine. Someone I could dive into again and again, each time finding more beauty than the last. I wanted to be wanted – not just tolerated but wanted, desired, welcomed, savored. I wanted something to do with all the love I had inside of me, to be able to dote when I felt the affection welling up within me. I wanted to be lost in each other, to be brought over the threshold of identity when our bodies wrapped around each other. I wanted to fuck with my entire body, my heart, my soul. Even the filth, the degradation, the shame had to be personal and intense. I wanted mutual vulnerability. I wanted to be inseparable, intertwined mentally, physically, emotionally. There was no such thing as too close. I didn’t see the point of anything other than close. I didn’t want casual.
And most of all, I wanted to give. Really, that’s what hurt the most, not being able to find someone willing to accept everything I had to give.
“Why are you looking at me? That’s kind of creepy.” “What? Make out here? We’re going to get caught.” “You’re a little intense.” “Don’t you ever think of anything but sex?” “Shut up, I need to get some sleep.” “You say the most messed up shit.” “You’re so needy. It’s exhausting.” “It’s obsession; it can’t be healthy.”
All I want is for you to look at me when you come. I want to see the sun rising in your face as I touch you. Let me look at you. Love and sex are inseparable to me. I’m broken, I know. I’m a pervert. I’m not asking you to be the same way as I am; just let me be me and let me love you. I care, and I’m trying. I know you don’t want to try, but please don’t punish me for trying. Is it wrong to be obsessed with my own happiness, with your happiness, with our happiness?
Every time I’d try to make it work, convinced that this could be the Great Love, not wanting it to pass me by, doing everything in my power to keep relationships held together – well past the point where I was miserable. What if this is it? I’d think. Do you want to let a little unhappiness keep you from the greatest connection of your life? So I’d use my pliancy to fill in gaps, stretch myself over the defects in each relationship, overloaded, stressed, my partners intuitively pushing their luck further and further until inevitably a line would be crossed, and it would become unbearable – and in many cases, the situation would actually become dangerous. I would then leave without warning, knowing I’d tried as hard as I could, leaving stunned partners in my wake. My exit seemed to come out of nowhere. As far as they were concerned, I was fine with the way things were. It wasn’t that I hadn’t complained. I did. It’s that I remained calm, spoke logically about my concerns. I never yelled or got angry. Even on the rare occasion that I gave an ultimatum, I spoke gently, often with my head down, embarrassed by the hard stance I didn’t want to have to take.
My words were ignored.
Look, you don’t have to yell or get firm with me for me to listen to you. Why should I have to do the same? I’m not even talking about agreeing with what I say. I’m not even being heard.
Communication is a 2-way street. You can demand the truth all day long, but if you make yourself impermeable to unpleasant information, that’s not my fault.
Maybe it’s madness, but I’m growing to realize it’s benign madness, and it need not be eradicated but directed appropriately.
All relationships end, and most end before one or both partners die. Odds are you’ll break up eventually. And that’s okay.
Far too often I see a pattern where people are desperate to assign blame, where they are compelled to vilify their ex. Maybe it’s a form of defensiveness lest they be stigmatized for “failing.” Maybe it’s to assuage and externalize their disappointment that the relationship didn’t turn out to be what they had hoped it could be.
Whatever the case, I bet you’re somebody’s crazy ex, too.