Home of an Emotional Idiot

While there were times when he wished he could roll back the clock and erase all the sadness, he had a hunch that if he did so, the joy would be diminished as well. And that was something he couldn't contemplate. (From At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Feel Like A Bad Soap Opera

I feel all kinds of stupid drama and quite honestly, feel kind of like an idiot writing about a lot of this stuff. Not only that but I feel like I have multiple personalities. I show one here, one on MySpace and one in real life. I feel for those of you that know me all three ways!

Today, while I was bored at work, I found this article and I wanted to share as it helped with my process of enlightenment:

Make the best of your breakup
By Elsa Simcik

It's been two months since my friend Lauren's boyfriend, Chris, broke up with her. Sure, she sulked for awhile, even got into the ice cream a bit. But now that she's ready to move on (which she proved by taking down her dart-infested photo of Chris off her wall), she's setting some new standards.

You see, Lauren's using her breakup as a learning experience. After all, why make that year with Chris all for nothing? "I refuse to let a failure go without squeezing out an answer from it," says Greg Behrendt, co-author of It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken. And you can (and should!) do the same. Here, some post-breakup questions to ask that can make your broken heart much smarter.

What did I like about him?

Now, don't turn this into a sap-fest, but just consider the traits that drew you to him in the first place and realize which ones you still value. "Even though it didn't work out between my ex-boyfriend and me - he never wanted to get married, I did - I loved how he was such a gentleman, always opening my door and standing up when I left the table," admits Chelsea Fredrickson, 28, of Nashville. So now Chelsea can put 'chivalry' down as a requirement for her new guy.

What didn't I like about him?

Grab a couple of girlfriends for this one. "They'll welcome that conversation," says Behrendt. Was he possessive? Arrogant? A cheese snob? Once you identify traits that turn you off, you can nip the next relationship in the bud before you spend another year with someone who says things like, "Sliced cheese" Puh-lease!? Seriously: If you bought a car without power steering, you'd never make that mistake again. What didn't I like about me with him? Behrendt recommends that you 'go back and look at the whole thing and try to see it as it is.' [Ask yourself], "What was my part?" Maybe he was demeaning, but your part was that you put up with it. So as long as you have your friends over for the boyfriend-bashing game, go ahead and ask them if you changed when you were with him. Were you a bit of a snob when you were together? Too eager to please him? Too busy with your guy to do your best at work? Once you figure out your mistakes, you can say, "Never again!"

How did my relationship with him affect other relationships?

Did you abandon your friends once he came into your life? And when you broke up, did you call them and ask, "So where are we going tonight?" as if you'd hung out with them the whole time? Oops. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in relationships we push our other priorities down the list, including our friends and families. "My family didn't like my boyfriend (and now I see why), so I didn't attend Thanksgiving at their house for two years in a row," admits Tina Sauer, 26, of Pittsburgh. Now's a good time to take stock and vow not to go down that path in your next relationship.

What would I do differently?

Everybody knows that "what ifs" can consume you, and if you're not over the breakup yet, you should hold off on this exercise. But if you're ready, thinking about what you would have done differently could be an enlightening experience."

"I dated a guy for three years and there was always drama," says Christine Finke, 33, of Houston, "He would pick fights for no reason. But I would never break up with him because I was scared of being alone. After he finally broke up with me, I realized I should have done it a long time ago." Now that Christine's free of her drama king, she's vowed that she'll never stay in a contaminated relationship just for the sake of having a boyfriend: "I'm so much happier now. I could have been this happy a year ago if I had spoken up!" she admits. Understanding that you can play a more active role in how relationships unfold is a lesson definitely worth learning.

The power of perspective

Asking and answering these questions can be one powerful tool. Behrendt says, "When you look back at the relationship and you have some clarity, you may realize there were maybe five things you liked about the person and 15 things you didn't like at all."

Plus, you may notice that there were always some clues. Behrendt says to ask yourself, "What were the things they said at the beginning?" For instance, if you were with the "I'm-not-so-sure-about-this-marriage-idea" guy before, you know that being a "Well-maybe-I-can-change-his-mind" girl doesn't work.

It's up to you: Your breakup can be excruciating or educational. But, really, listing everything that was wrong with your ex-boyfriend (and learning from it) sounds so much more appealing than listening to another encore of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." Don't you agree?

Elsa Simcik is a freelance writer in Dallas, TX. Besides MSN.com Dating and Personals, Elsa has contributed to Women's Health & Fitness, Men's Edge and For Me magazine.

How does this relate to me?

I have decided that AIM and I can no longer do the "friends with benefits" thing. He doesn't know it yet, nor do I plan on telling him with words. I plan on showing him with actions. There will be no more nookie. And I have to say that this is HUGE for me because I really enjoy the nookie with him.

Last night I finished reading Why Men Marry Bitches. It was a great book. I found myself cringing at some of the things I've done and patting myself on the back for others. Maybe it was reading this book and maybe it was that coupled with this inevitable buildup of frustration that brought about this decision.

What it boils down to is that I care for him but I care for myself too. I am not interested in casual sex without strings (aka a relationship that isn't going anywhere). I got caught up hoping that he'd change his mind again and want a relationship but I've accepted that this is probably not going to happen, at least not as long as I don't carry on with my own life and see what is out there.

My ex used to always tell me that there were better jobs out there with better benefits etc. I found out he was right and am going to apply that same theory to my love life.

So, if it's meant to be with AIM then he will come around and it will be. If not, I still have a friend... for now at least. I recently got an email that people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime. At the moment, I hope he's in my life for the long haul but time will tell me that.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to take another break from men. I want to focus on my exercise, on what is going on at home and on having some fun. I'll see what happens.

The strange thing is that I feel more confident these days. I'm not sure why but I'm not questioning it!


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