In June this year, writer and commentator Garrick Transell, wrote, in Elephant Journal, “an open letter” to the girls he stopped calling.
Reading this, I think you will find it raw, emotionally honest and generous. Yes, it falls into the “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” basket, but at least he fesses up to emotional cowardice in his youth. As one of the women he was writing to (not ACTUALLY, you understand…I’ve never met the man let alone had a fling with him!), I did find some comfort in his words.
But only some…
This kind of behaviour, in your teens or twenties is piss-poor. Yet it’s understandable and, ultimately, forgivable. Just as being clingy, neurotically jealous or over-demanding, are somewhat forgivable in the young.
But in the over-forties, this behaviour is reprehensible. And, sadly, all too common.
I have recently been a victim of this in a spectacular fashion.
For over twelve months now, I have been in regular contact with David*. Executive summary: we met in my home town; we dated for a few weeks; he returned interstate; we kept in contact; he met someone else; he moved in with her (with unmitigated haste, I might add); three months later we were back in contact; he came back to my home town to spend time with me when she was elsewhere; they broke up (surprise, surprise); he rang me every day;
Yes folks, he rang me every day.
And then suddenly stopped. No calls. No emails. No messenger. Cue crickets.
I was actually quite worried about him. After about a week of hearing nothing, I texted him, saying that I just wanted to know that he was OK. Nothing. I rang his mobile, which went straight through to message-bank. No call-back.
So I started to be really worried. If he was dead or in a coma, I would be unlikely to know, as nobody in his life really knew I existed. He has a very common name (not John Smith, but about the next most common Anglo-Celtic name you could think of). I started searching obits in his area.
And yet…some part of me knew that he was alive and well. The part of me that has learnt, through hard experience, that he is never in a coma: he is just not that into you. But then I feel guilty because he MIGHT be dead or in a coma, and here’s me thinking he is just a cunt, and I should be at his bedside, holding his hand. And then I feel a fool for thinking that…and so the cycle goes on.
THIS is the really, shitty part of the vanishing act. It’s not the sudden dumping with no closure. Who the hell gets closure at the best of times? If Disney did break-ups, there would be closure. And forest creatures to mop up your tears. But real-life break-ups are more Tarantino than Disney. I no longer expect, or even hope for, an explanation. All I ask is to be informed THAT I have been dumped. THAT he has met someone else/changed his mind/gone back to his ex. To leave me not knowing if he is dead or alive, feeling in turns, guilty, and angry, and foolish, and guilty again, is a form of gaslighting by omission.
I understand that dumping someone is not easy: I’ve done it myself. I understand that getting caught up in a discussion about it, is highly confronting. I know that even the most emotionally strong amongst us, will shy away from this task. So, by all means, dump and run. Dump and block. Dump and move overseas for all I bloody care BUT AT LEAST LET HER KNOW SHE’S DUMPED. Simply not calling, and hoping she’ll eventually get the message, shows a total lack of acknowledgement that the “eventually” is HER time that you are wasting. HER time, when she could be doing other things, that she is spending wondering, second-guessing, churning herself up about whether she should call again, or check with your mum, or ring the local hospitals. HER time when your shitty cowardice turns her into a fool in her own mind.
As of writing, it’s been five weeks since I have heard from David. I still know nothing. My intelligent conclusion, based on his past behaviour patterns, and the fact that his last texts to me seemed slightly awry, is that I’ve been dumped. But it’s taken five weeks for me to get there and accept it. And to stop feeling guilty because “he might be in a coma”.
Then again, he kind of IS in a coma: a coma of self-absorption and cowardice.
And boy….would I LOVE to be at his bedside when he woke up from that one!
*Not his real name. (Although, he does like using this name when he first meets women…)
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