Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Love is All Around

This past weekend marked two years since I moved out of the house that I co-owned with Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies). It was the day that I stopped crying enough to pack a bag, tuck Cat under my arm, and get away from Liar Ex’s indifference. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that the collapsing real estate market coupled with my own poor housing choices would drag out everything by another year and a half until the house finally sold this past spring. It also left me financially bankrupt because I had to pay both rent and my part of the mortgage for that year and a half. I still haven’t recovered from that (What a nice memento of that hellish time).

There are many dates after this one (and many dates before) that could potentially be used to mark the final end of that atrocious eight-year relationship. To my mind, though, the day I checked-out of that house was the true end.

I don’t mention the day to recount (again) all of the bad things that went down at the end of that relationship. The short version will suffice: After eight years, I discovered that Liar Ex was, well, a cowardly, selfish, liar. He left no promise to me unbroken. For most of our last year together, he seemed to enjoy humiliating me and reminding me of just how inadequate he thought that I was. As I struggled to meet each new milestone he created that (he claimed) would make me worth while in his eyes, he was busy scouting out (what he imagined) to be better options. Liar Ex felt free to treat me as if I had the same emotional complexity of a paper doll.

He had many opportunities to be a stand-up guy when it came to ending the relationship. Each time, however, he was too cowardly, too selfish, or too lazy to bother. Even at the bitter end, his expectation was that I would cheerfully validate his decisions by becoming a happy “roomie.” Why wouldn’t I want a front-row seat to him building a new relationship with that homely loser that he trudged up? **Sigh** -- He didn't even have the decency to find somebody younger, better looking, or more interesting than me. Loser.

Okay, so maybe I do bring up the date to recount some of the bad things that went down. Hey, I never said that I don’t need lots of therapy. Go to somebody else’s blog for a psychologically well-adjusted account of their life.

To make up for it, I've included some of my favorite break-up songs throughout this post. These were great listening in those early months:

More importantly than recounting the bad end, I mention the two-year mark because I marvel at how much my life has changed in that time. Two years ago, it was not my decision for that relationship to end (which is why I was always so desperate to believe Liar Ex’s many lies). From his vantage point, it would have been just dandy if I treated the end of our eight year relationship (and his many lies) as if it was no big deal.

The problem being that the end of the relationship was a very big deal to me. For most of the first couple months after I moved out, it felt like my skin was on fire. Most of my nights were spent watching Wonder Woman DVD's, hiding in bed, and wondering how I would face another day. There were times when I had to abandon my shopping cart in the middle of a grocery store because I started crying. Let me tell you, it is remarkably painful when you find out that your love was worth nothing more than a passel of lies.

Other people bounce back from such things more easily, I am sure. For me, however, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. It took a certain amount of hard work and introspection to get through those first few months. Plus, I went through lots of therapy. Fortunately, I found an unconventional therapist who recommended sleeping around and drinking a lot. No kidding -- That was his advice. My favorite session ended with, "Are you sure you are drinking enough?" Hey -- Who was I to question doctor’s orders?

Aside from a therapist who promoted alcoholism as a therapeutic treatment, I was also lucky to have friends and family who really cared about me. Plus, there were some exceptional people who showed me a lot of kindness through this here blog.

Like the sacred gospel of Gloria Gaynor promises, I learned to get along and I grew strong. A straight-friend (Yes, I have them) who had gone through a similarly bad breakup gave a peculiar, though accurate, estimation of one of the few advantages of the situation. When faced with many layers of betrayal, your own love for that person dies almost completely. There is no wistful longing for futures that never came to pass or small glimmers of hope about reconciliation. Instead, you come to see the person’s actual character with a stranger’s eyes. Let me tell you, in the case of Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies), that ain’t pretty.

Let’s be honest, darlings, Liar Ex wasn’t worth half of me. Even when I think about the type of people that Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) surrounded himself with at the end of the relationship (people who were shallow, exclusively white, and intellectually lazy), I realize how little he and I had in common. We were poorly matched by every measure. If anything, I wished that I had ended that relationship a thousand times earlier.

Two years out, I can say that I am much happier with my life than anytime in my eight-year relationship. Indeed, I wouldn’t trade my worst, most lonely day in the past two years for another eight years with Liar Ex (shudder).

The cosmos has been good to ol’ GayProf. I had a great year in Boston and started life over again in Midwestern Funky Town. My job is remarkably good within academic circles. These days, I am less likely to keep people in my life who are unwilling or unable to take my feelings into consideration.

Sure, there are things that still stress me out (never ending project of doom, foibles of dating, shoveling inches of snow simply so I can get out of my driveway). In many ways, I don’t know what my ultimate goals in life are (beyond finishing the never ending project of doom). Will I get tenure and stay in MFT? Will I seek out other vistas? Will I become headwriter of a gay soap opera? Who can say?

Right now, though, I like being an independent agent. My little cottage is warm and comfortable. Cat is sweet. I recently developed an appreciation for Bourbon, which means that I currently enjoy delicious Manhattan Cocktails. My health is fine. I have good friends who adore me.

It’s good that the anniversary of the breakup reminded me to take stock in all the really great things that surround me. All in all, I feel content and happy with my life at this moment.

Oh, and because I am certain that he is pathetic enough that he still reads this blog: Happy Anniversary, Shitdigit.


Dr. Bad Ass said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, though I don't think I've ever commented before. I had to on this one. Your description of the first couple of months after you left Liar Ex remind me very much of the first couple of months after my ex left me. (We call him BAD Andy. He and I were married for 8 years.) I cried non-stop, in all kinds of public places where one would oneself to have more self-control. I was lucky enough to have a pair of good friends (Bad Andy's best friend, in fact, and his wife)who let me sleep on their couch on the weekends (which were the worst, by far). Later, they told me they didn't think anyone had that many tears in them.

It's been almost 10 years now and my life is SO much better than it was when I was with a man who didn't respect me, didn't think I was capable of much, and who took many opportunities to show his lack of respect for me in public. I say this just to emphasize that there is so much hope for change when you've been with someone unworthy of your love. Good for you for taking the first few steps.

Oh, and alcohol and wild sex did a lot for me in those early days as well.

Hope you enjoy your holiday --

csdenton said...

I feel compelled to share the lyrics of my own favorite break-up song. Naturally it's from the Smiths...

CHORUS: I've come to wish you
an unhappy birthday,
I've come to wish you
an unhappy birthday
'cause you're evil and you lie
and if you should die
I may feel slightly sad,
but I won't cry.

Loved and lost
and some may say,
'Well, usually it's nothing,
surely you're happy
it should be this way?'
I say 'No, I'm gonna kill my dog.'
May the lines sag heavy,
heavy and deep tonight.


Loved and lost
and some may say,
'Well, usually it's nothing,
surely you're happy
it should be this way?'
I said, 'No, I'm gonna shoot myself.'
So drink, drink, and be ill tonight.
From the one you left behind,
from the one you left behind,
behind, behind, behind."

jaclyn said...

When faced with many layers of betrayal, your own love for that person dies almost completely. There is no wistful longing for futures that never came to pass or small glimmers of hope about reconciliation. Instead, you come to see the person’s actual character with a stranger’s eyes.

That's it!! After finding out that my husband was cheating on me, lying to my face (because I asked if he was), and lying to our couples counselor ... well, I don't love him anymore. He's a low, lying, selfish bastard. It's amazing what reading correspondence between him and his mistress did to an 11-year love (9 1/2 year marriage).

But I'm still pissed off. I'm using your post as a reminder that it will be better after I get more used to my new life. (And after the divorce is final!) Happy anniversary. :)

Mel said...

It seems that the Liar Ex phenomenon is fairly widespread. Your story was so familiar that I wondered for a moment if we hadn't both been living with the same person. Mine even reads my blog, too, but I don't bother to address anything to him and only rarely mention him. I think yours may have been a little worse, but only marginally so.

Your therapist was certainly onto something. I didn't do the drinking so much, except for a very spectacularly drunken birthday at a martini bar two weeks after I got the dump. A little casual sex, though, did wonders for my battered ego.

tornwordo said...

It sounds to me like you learned a lot about yourself and your needs, so it's not really a "waste" of 8 years. It's nice to see that you've landed in a better place.

Margaret said...

I am glad you now see that you need someone who can appreciate the full wonder and glory that is GayProf. I am not at all kidding. You are so smart, funny, wise, and compassionate ... and you need someone who can be and who can appreciate all of those things.

Happy anniversary, dear GP.

vuboq said...

I am so happy that you have discovered the joys of bourbon I smile when I think about it.

And, I find it hard to believe there are men out there who are better looking and/or more interesting than you.

*hugs* and

gwoertendyke said...

yes, what maggie said--it breaks my heart for you that you that shitdigit demeaned and devauled you for so long. eight years is a long time--it takes a bit to move beyond the person you were. i was married for 7 years and coupled for 10--i think it took between 2-3 to feel like ex was a strange animal i could not believe i shared any space with, much less had sex with.

you are wonderful--enjoy your cozy cottage and your new digs and great job. and happy holidays!

CoffeeDog said...

Time is an amazing elixir. It cures all that ails you, and at the same time helps you get good focus on what was really going on. Yay for you :-)

pacalaga said...

Your friend spoke the truth about betrayal. I'd probably still be pining for my ex if he hadn't cheated on me with my best friend. (I might still be missing her, too.) He tried to "ease into" breaking up with me by saying, "I feel like I'm holding you back from a happy life." Turns out he was right.
I would regret not getting out of that heinous situation earlier, but if I had, I might have taken a different path now and not have the happy little family that brings me joy every day. And to tell you the truth, I owe the ex a lot - he taught me very clearly what I DIDN'T want, so it was easier to find what I did want.
Only the best to you, GayProf, whatever that may bring you in the future. XOXO Feliz Navidad, and bueno año nuevo! (Okay, that might not be just right, but I tried.)

Anonymous said...

As I read today, I thought about the pain that still lingers. It doesn't just go away, even if intellectually we know it's for the better.

There are people who will make light of your feelings, "just get over it, it's been two years," but they don't get it.

I get it.

Take care Gayprof.

K said...

GayProf, you kick ass. You deserve the best, and I hope 2008 is the year it arrives for you!

Doug said...

I've always hated the phrase, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." It's true, though.

You have my sincere hope that 2008 brings you new reasons to celebrate anniversaries.

dpaste said...

"Other people bounce back from such things more easily, I am sure."

Not this person. Six months out, I'm still working through the break-up of my six month relationship. It only took you two years to get past eight years. You are far more adjusted than I am. Like it or not, you are a role model for me.

Anonymous said...

Eight years of seriously fucked-up shit and all I got was this neo-soul video.

There's a t-shirt in there somewhere. Now make it a tight one and pick up some hot little therapy at the bar this weekend.

Unknown said...

That was totally inspiring. Thanks for sharing this story.

Anonymous said...

Please provide name and contact information for your therapist.

I'm not facing a breakup; I just want someone professional to tell me that I need to drink more.

Antonio said...

I'm glad you were strong enough to move on from such a damaging relationship. It's good to hear that things are looking up and I wish nothing but the best for you in 2008 and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to send well wishes.

Other people bounce back from such things more easily, I am sure.

I'm the step-son of a psychotherapist. Believe me when I tell you that these people are fewer than you think.

I'm very glad to hear that things are looking good. Long may it continue!

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this. I recently had to sit and witness an abusive relationship which seemed as passive-aggressive as some of the things you mention here and with someone who still remains in love with his abuser. My subtle attempts to subvert the behavior all failed and when I finally snapped and asked simply that Liar be nicer it was all bad for everybody involved. I am saying thank you to you, because as I read your post, I realized that I was not only uncomfortable for him, I was uncomfortable for me as I too escaped a relationship like the one you mention and in a similar costly fashion. For me, reading this was like breathing clean air and I hope, when I figure out a way to pass it on to Mr. still hanging in there, that he sees the same thing.

good on you!

dykewife said...

i'm glad that, on looking back, you can see your own personal growth and that the liar-ex (who told many lies) wasn't able to crush your spirit. it is very easy to remain the victim but you chose to do the work and jet on past the liar-ex (who told many lies) in character, integrity, humour and compassion.

i do adore you...and not just because you are have a pretty face. :)

Anonymous said...

I just split up with my partner of 8 years. Reading this gives me hope that one day I will get over her. Thank you.

Clio Bluestocking said...

Your Liar Ex clearly deserves to rot in a hell of his own making. You, on the other hand, deserve legions of adoring fans and followers (or booze and sex, whichever you prefer). Thank goodness he is in your past; and thank you for sharing the story.

Earl Cootie said...

And one year soon, you'll be thinking back on that relationship and realize that the anniversary had already passed and you hadn't even taken note of it.

Scars become a part of you, as memories of the wounds fade and detach.

jamesdotca said...

No D&M comment from me, aside from mentioning that MY iPod is also probably tired of playing Jimmy by M.I.A., in rotation with the original by Parvati Khan.

I think that you can add dancing around in your underwear (at home or in a club... your choice) to alcohol and sleeping around on your list of therapeutic activities.

Marlan said...



Have a great holiday break, GP.

Roger Owen Green said...

Seriously, you don't really want to know about some of my previous relationships.

Anonymous said...

Good for you!! It's great to realize your own worth and realize that others don't live up to your expectations. To quote one of my favorite movies of all time -- "settle for anything and you're doomed." Here's to not settling in the new year. :)

Steven said...

This is probably one of the most revealing posts of you CoG that I have read. And I look at this entry as a "learning in recognition" and as a form of therapy for yourself. You were fortunate to have a solid support network for you. Here's to your future! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year in MFT.

bardelf said...

Dear gayprof,

I cannot think of any additional words of wisdom that I could add here to the observations and insights you've made about the relationship from hell. Just remember that you did survive it and are learning to thrive.

Honest to god, I dreamed about you last night gayprof. Something to the effect of ... a large academic conference was taking place. Many of your faithful readers and admirers (such as myself) were there and you were walking around asking questions of us, as you tried to guess who we were. It took quite awhile, but you finally said, 'aha, you are bardelf', to me. It was really cool, and of course, you were even more charming and sexy in person than I could have imagined ...

All the best to you in 2008, buddy.
You rock!

GayProf said...

Dr. Bad Ass: Hail, Amazon Sister! Thanks for commenting.

I was also surprised by how much I was physical able to cry. One would have thought that I would become dehydrate at some point.

Chad: The Smiths seems to have all the answers...

Jaclyn: Ugh! Your ex sounds like scum. What I don't understand about people like Liar Ex and Scummy Ex is why they put up pretenses. Why drag you through marriage counseling if, all along, he knew it wasn't going anywhere? It's not like you couldn't have spent that time doing more useful things . . . Like cutting holes in the crotch of all his pants.

Hang in there! Life gets so much better.

Mel: Alas, I think that we all encounter a Liar Ex at some point in our lives. The smart ones just exit earlier.

Torn: I did learn a lot about myself -- Still, eight years seems like a long time to acquire that knowledge. It took me less time to earn a Ph.D.

Maggie: Aww -- You're sweet. You forgot to mention, though, how brave I am as well.

VUBOQ: Bourbon keeps me warm.

Adjunct Whore: I heard somebody say it usually takes half the time of the actual relationship to get fully over it.

CoffeeDog: People tried to deliver this message about time at the instant of the breakup. I didn't believe, but now I see.

Pacalaga: When somebody like Liar Ex goes out for total destruction, it really is an advantage that you no longer feel any love for that person.

Laverne: I don't get over anything easily.

K: Thanks! I hope the new year is good for you, too!

Doug: And sometimes what doesn't kill us just makes us bitter. It's a fine line.

Have a good holiday!

David: Different relationships have their own peculiarities. I have no doubt that the end of a six month relationship can be profoundly painful, despite it's brevity. Plus, you have had a hard past couple of months outside of romantic foibles. Hang in there!

Jefe: Alas, I have to skip therapy this weekend as I am about to travel to see my parents.

Teresa: Have a good holiday!

JP: I am not toally unconvinced that Therapist wasn't thinking of his job security by creating a situation where he would later need to treat my alcoholism...

Antonio: Have a great new year!

Baron: I was surprised by the number of people who did tell me "to just move on." That type of emotional denial seemed liked it would just bite me on the ass in later years.

Anon: That sounds like a bad scene, man. I wish we all had more self-respect to avoid such scenarios.

DykeWife: But my pretty face is part of it, right?

Let's Kill: Ugh! If you just split, this is the worst part of it. Sadly, there is nothing to do but live through it. Getting over an eight year relationship takes a long, long time. It does happen, though. All my best thoughts are with you!

Clio: I am a firm believer that if you sow sadness, it's tears that you will reap. Liar Ex can't take back the things that he has done...

Earl: I feel what you are putting down. Indeed, I had to look up the actual date as I only knew an approximation.

Jamesdotca: I like the older version of "Jimmy," but M.I.A.'s political message is more appealing to me.

Marlan: I calls them likes I see them.

ROG: Well, now that you brought them up, I think I do want to know...

WiccaChicky: That was part of the problem -- I imagined that Liar Ex was the best/only option for me at the time. What the hell was on my mind???

Steven: Sometimes the actual me seeps into CoG.

BardElf: It's true: I am even more charming and sexy in person in person than you can imagine...

Roger Owen Green said...

A footnoted response to you in my blog today.

Tenured Radical said...


Just checking in --loved the post. Like the others here I have had the experience of being lied to, although in this case it was with a cold-hearted, selfish girl who not only broke up with me, but did it at a conference where I had to function like a normal person as I was coping with this new information.

I did ok for a while. Then, gradually, I figured out that she had been planning to break up with me for months, but hadn't told me because although she knew the end was coming she hadn't been ready herself. Because the relationship was all about her, and making her feel ok. So she never mentioned breaking up as a possibility until she abruptly ended the relationship in an ugly bar and sent me packing. Then gradually, through phone conversations aimed at breaking up in a way that could permit us to be friends (which was, of course, "so important" to her) I figured out all the other lies. And it turns out she was never a good friend to me at all. Which made me really angry -- and caused her to announce that we couldn't be friends -- not because she had betrayed me -- but because I was such an "angry person." We are no longer in contact.

And yes, I have experienced that dissociative thing where you are doing something else, like pumping gas or writing, and suddenly you realize you have been crying for who knows how long. It was horrible. But what was also horrible -- aside from being made crazy by the lies slowly being revealed over time, usually in labyrinthine ways that involved more deception, was realizing that I actually had known a lot of things before the breakup that I hadn't "known" because they didn't seem possible, given what I thought the relationship was.

As I got over it, over the course of many months, I realized that I wasn't grieving the actual relationship but was grieving the relationship I thought I had had and a person who didn't actually exist. Losing a cherished illusion -- particularly one that one has been an active participant in preserving -- may be just as hard as losing a real person who really does love you.

Anyway, although I have to deal with this person professionally, it takes a lot of energy not to just hate her for not being who she said she was and treating me like someone didn't matter. Oddly, today is her birthday -- and I would bet you a hundred dollars she has no idea when mine is anymore.