I have a lot going on. And when that happens, it’s hard to pinpoint a topic to blog about. I’m either too scattered, or trying to respect everyone’s privacy, including my own. Privacy is a funny thing to a blogger, especially one who has written a memoir where she lets it all hang out anyway. Perhaps with memoir, we have the illusion of control (emphasis on ‘illusion’). We can reframe and shape our past as we see fit, and because it happened already, it feels less immediate than a blog post.
My memoir, about a Good Jewish Girl who marries a Christian, illustrates how I met my Christian husband and the obstacles along the way – including an eight month break up.
After dating for four months and falling in love, we mutually agreed to break up. Our split was amicable, and I moved on fairly easily, mistaking that ease for “we must not be meant-to-be.” Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong, but perhaps I needed to believe that then, in order to come back to him later. At the time, I was unaware that this ease I was experiencing was actually relief in disguise. Relief that I had averted the scarier route of committing to him for love, and for the long haul, without the insurance of a checklist.
I found a blog post that I had written on the heels of our breakup, in April 2010, which illustrates my frame of mind (and kind of blows my mind too).
Looking back, things happened exactly as they should have. Our sweet, clean break up had a distinct purpose; the universe (okay, God) had been telling us that while we needed to meet and connect, that it wasn’t the right time to go the distance. We weren’t ready for one another; we weren’t ready for the gravity of the real thing. Not yet.
Looking back, our break up healed us. Without our breaking apart, we never would have come back together.
ANOTHER CUB BITES THE DUST – April 2010
I skipped a posting last week because I was sick, although in hindsight, that was probably a cover for the real reason. I think there was too much uncertainty roiling around in my subconscious, and I couldn’t work out what to tackle first. I also must have intuited that it was too early (and personal) to write about what was to come a few days later: a break up with my tall, young, sweet and Aidan-like goyfriend.
Most of my friends don’t know yet but the few that I’ve told reacted with the classic, “Whaattt?? What happened?!” They were surprised. Things seemed to be going so well.
We all know that just because things look great on the outside, doesn’t always mean that they actually are. Although to my boyfriend and I, on the inside, it was looking promising. We were going through the good relationship motions: checking in with one another, sleeping over, sharing stories, dining and wining together. When I was sick he bought me yellow tulips. The image of him standing by my bed, this huge guy clutching this tiny unbloomed bouquet makes my heart hurt. I had given him a key to my apartment just a week before.
He even met the Fockersteins, for god (his and mine) sake! And afterwards, my mother went out of her way to Google ‘Amazon’ and send me a book, signifying that my man and I had a future, entitled “Marrying a Jew, from a Christian perspective.” I freaked. My goyfriend was on his way over and I found myself hiding the book and its receipt like it was porn. I emailed Mom to tell her that if I needed more information on interfaith relationships, I knew how to Google too, and could do so when I was ready.
My point is, I wonder if the visible increase in such niceties indicates that there is something wrong under the surface? How many times have you heard women express great shock over a break up, specifically because the guy “texted me just the night before to say he wanted to spend his life with me!” or “but we just planned a vacation to Hawaii!” Are we actually more emphatic, more lovey-dovey to our significant other, just before we break up with them? Is it denial, or are we overcompensating, in the hopes of eradicating our doubts?
Looking back, I think some of this was going on with us. We were ignoring the elephant in the room for a while (no not the Christian one…a cute image though.) A year ago, with my last boyfriend, I could go a long time blissfully ignoring things – ignoring my gut. But not anymore. At least there is a silver lining to this breakup. Amidst the heartache, at least I know that my gut and I have become best friends – the kind of friend I listen to, who doesn’t project her own agenda, baggage, or neurosis on me like some friends tend to do.
My dad said it best: “I see you don’t sit on the pot too long anymore.”
When I told Mom we broke up, she surprised me. Rather than reacting with her predictable “Heeeeee!! Mah karah?” (“What happened?” in Hebrew…Mom switches to Hebrew for important subjects), she listened.
And then in a soft patient voice she said, “Cougel, you will be okay. You’re strong and practical. You’ve been through a lot worse.”
How true, I realized. After the end of a fourteen-year marriage, the failure of a four-month relationship, no matter how in love I felt, doesn’t scare me. I wonder if the loss of love hurts less with age and experience, or more, because the older we get, the greater our despair. Or perhaps the rate of our recovery correlates with the quality of the relationship itself, and how certain we are deep down that it just “wasn’t right.” Four days after my breakup, and judging by how I’m doing, I’m pretty certain that for me it was the latter.
It doesn’t mean I didn’t cry the day we broke up. After Mom and I hung up, I called her back to tell her one more thing: “By the way. I’m going to keep the book you sent me….for the next guy.”
Mom burst out laughing (I love that she can laugh at herself) and then I joined in. It felt good. Mom also knows there is some truth to my comment. The likelihood that my next boyfriend won’t be Jewish is no surprise, nor does it seem to freak my parents out anymore (Call it acceptance. Or learned helplessness. Either way, I’m glad).
The upside to all of this is that now I can start blogging more freely again, without worrying about respecting a boyfriend’s privacy (my own privacy, as evidenced by this blog, is fair game). Although I doubt I will start online dating anytime soon, no matter how good the fodder is for my blog.
But when I do, you’ll know.