Monday, September 19, 2011

Returning to Broken Love

Good Morning Everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. Please note, this is an unusually long post today. I have a lot of ground to cover.

So, today's topic is Returning to Broken Love. You might ask what Broken Love means -- I'm talking about getting back together with someone who's broken your heart. Devastated you.

I don't do it. Ever. Have never. Will never.

There's something about the physicality of a broken heart. Now I know that when someone breaks it, it doesn't really fall apart, but it sure does feel like it. And I'm not talking about high school broken hearts, I'm talking about real true adult broken hearts. (And I've never been married, so I can't speak for what happens in a divorce. This is from a single woman's point of view.)

When you think you've found the "one". You are giddy and in love and everyday is Heaven on earth, there is no other person in the world who means as much to you ever. There is the promise of something "more", of a lifetime together, perhaps. There are years invested, and friends and family, vacations, commitments.

And then, he does something so inconceivable that you just can't believe it. He breaks your heart.

Let me tell you about Richard. We were incredibly in love. He was a chef, I was a restaurant manager, we started dating and somewhere around the two year mark we built and opened a restaurant together, almost from the ground up. I helped with everything, from ordering to hiring, cooking, waitressing, building, picking out tile, redecorating. You name it, he cleared everything through me before he made the final decision. We had our first opening night and invited 100 of our closest friends and clients. It was magical. Things couldn't have been better.

We had our second opening night for the community at large. I was there already greeting guests, serving drinks, when he walked in with another woman. A woman I knew from town. A woman I had no idea he had been seeing on the side, while I had been slaving away helping him with the restaurant.

I literally heard my heart snap in half. After the initial shock, and the dead silence of having the customers watch me to see what I would do, (because it was a small town and everyone knew us as a couple) I walked out of the bar right then and never looked back. Sure he called, and tried to explain, and cried and begged me to come back, but I refused to even take his call. Two months later, the gossip killed him and he lost the business.

I was bereft for about 6 months. Really. I lost almost 30 pounds. I refused to see my friends. I was totally humiliated. I cried ALL the time. I lost a part of myself that I couldn't get back. I swore I would never fall in love again.

Cut to Nevada 10 years later. I started a relationship with Terrence, but I never let my heart get completely involved. I was very leery of the whole "love" thing. But then he was accused of a crime he didn't commit and he asked me to stand by his side, to support him. So I did. Our relationship changed after that. (I knew he didn't do it, and the judge ruled he didn't do it. It was a set-up.)

Sitting in a diner, having a turkey sandwich with my best friend, I realized I was in love with him. I denied it, of course, because I wasn't ever going to be in love again. But there it was. So I committed to him and the love. To make a long story short, 3 months later he told me he was in love with someone else. My best friend.


But she wasn't in love with him. They tried dating, it didn't last 6 months, and she married another guy. Of course he came begging back to me and I turned him on his ear.

The reason I'm discussing this topic today, is that my ex, Monster Child's father, has come back to North Carolina. I'm not going to get into the where-for's and why's about our break-up, it's just too ugly. But it did get me wondering why I won't get back with him.

People change, absolutely, and he has, for the most part, done a complete 180 from where it was that broke us up. But, throughout the last 8 years, he's broken my heart more times than I can count. I gave him chance after chance, because I did love him with all my heart and he is my daughter's father and I thought a family should really try.

The last two years without him around have been hard on The Monster. She loved her Daddy, and now he's back, she's over the moon. And I never wanted to take her away from him, but he was just so damned toxic. He was killing both of us, the three of us, so I made him go.

But now he's gotten his shit together and I'm happy for him. I like the fact he can come over to my house and we can have a civil conversation instead of screaming, or crying or throwing things. I have made peace with my ex. I have to get along with him, he is my daughter's father. I have forgiven him (for the most part) of all the things he's done to me. But I will never forgive him for breaking my heart.

He's asked, The Monster has begged, why he can't move back in. Why we can't be a real family again. How do I explain to my 6 yr. old about broken hearts. About losing trust and hearing lies and the damage it causes.

Once my heart is broken, it takes a long time to heal. And mine has so many scars on it right now, it's held together with super glue and duct tape. Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't fall in love ever again. That's a whole other blog post. What I'm saying is, I won't attempt to rekindle a dead fire. I won't ever get back together with a man who's broken my heart.

Tell me -- How about you? Would you, or have you, gotten back together with someone who broke your heart in a major way? Or is once it's over, it's over?


jabblog said...

I think you're very strong and wise, too, to make your decision and abide by it. My niece's husband broke her heart and she still has feelings for him but won't allow herself to take him back. I think she's wise, too, but I'm not sure I would be that strong.

Bish Denham said...

I'm with you Anne. Once my heart has been broken, once I have been betrayed, that's it. That old saying is true. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Certainly you can be civil and have a "working" relationship, it's important to the welfare of you daughter. But if your history with your ex is one of repeated betrayals I'd keep a lock on the heart and hide the key.

As for what to tell you daughter...tell her you are very happy daddy is back in her life and that you and he will always try to be friends because it's important to you that they have a relationship. I don't think you have to try to explain anything more. Except, if she asks, to say it's a grown-up thing that you can't explain yet, but will when she's older.

Laura Pauling said...

I think it totally depends case to case on the person, me, the situation, the turn around. I'm happy for your daughter but I realize it's hard for you!

Anne Gallagher said...

jabblog -- Thanks. It's so hard to know what to do especially when your heart's involved, but I think your niece is making the right decision. In five years she'll KNOW she made the right decision.

Bish -- The Monster and I have had many long conversations about why we're not being a family anymore. I don't believe in keeping the truth from her so explained why in terms she'd understand. She does, but it still doesn't mean she accepts it. She also still wants a pony, but that's the mentality of kids. They want what they want when they want it.

Laura -- It is hard, but I'm taking it day by day. One step at a time.

Linda G. said...

I'm with you on this one, at least in matters of romance. Once my heart was broken romantically, I could never seem to regain the trust necessary to risk it again. Lucky for TG, he hasn't ever crossed that line. Lucky for me, too. :)

Clarissa Draper said...

OH boy, I really don't want to say. I'm horrible at relationships so my advice would be the wrong one. However, I hope whatever road you choose brings you and your family happiness.

Amie Borst said...

my goodness! you are such a strong woman! but don't let that strength and will become stubborness and prevent you from opening your heart again. sometimes you have to take the risk - as much as it might hurt. i hope you're able to work things out. heart break is one of the hardest things we all deal with - whether it be for our children, our friends or loved ones. i hope you find the peace that you deserve.

Creepy Query Girl said...

For me, once it's over, it's over. Life is too short to spend feeling bad about yourself or constantly worried about being hurt.

Em-Musing said...

I give someone three chances. On the fourth--THEY'RE OUT! and there's no fixing it. I understand your heart. One day, you'll find someone. I buried mine in a box so deep and far away that I was sure no man would find it. My novel is about the most unlikely man who found Em's heart and coaxed it out again over the course of one summer. Such a touching post.

Stephen Tremp said...

Once its over, its over. The trust factor, which all relationships are based and built upon, has been damaged to the point of no return.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

what. the. Eff? What did he think was going to happen when he walked into the restaurant with another woman? How does that even make ANY SENSE?!
My mind is totally blown with that.

Lynn said...

I believe in forgiveness but not forgetfulness. We are not hard-wired to forget the transgressions done by a romantic partner. In saying that, I have seen couples get back together but there was only one broken root in the foundation. Many times the trusting roots of a relationship are so ripped apart and the soil spoiled, they cannot be re-planted. Thanks for your transparency here Anne.

jbchicoine said...

This is a really heavy duty post, Anne. I don't think it's ever 'cut and dry' when you share a child. I admire you for putting aside the past enough for The Monster Child's benefit. We all wish for the happily ever after, and I think even in your situation, there is hope, but there are too many considerations to expound upon in a post comment!

Anne Gallagher said...

Linda -- Sometimes in life you do actually meet 'the one'. You're lucky.

Clarissa -- Life is actually good just the way it is right now.

Amie -- My heart will open when it's ready and not one second before. And that's okay.

Katie -- That's because you're from New England. We have that tough as nails interior.

Em -- I tried the 3 chances, but that's a whole other story. And I'm not looking for anyone because they don't make men like the kind I'm looking for anymore. I'm prefectly content being alone right now.

Stephen -- That's exactly it. Once the trust is gone, what's the point.

Sarah -- LOL. You should have been there. You could have heard a pin drop. Every single face in the restaurant looked at him, then turned at exactly the same time and looked at me. I was lucky I made it to the parking lot before I threw up all over my shoes.

Anne Gallagher said...

Lynn -- With The Monster's father so many roots were damaged, it wasn't worth repairing the tree. We have a 'working' relationship now and that's fine with me. It's all about The Monster.

Bridget -- My rose colored glasses are off when it comes to The Monster's father and there is no hope when one does not have faith. And that is what it boils down to. My happily ever after will have to wait awhile. I'm in no hurry.

Tara said...

I think you are an extraordinarily strong woman for sticking to your decisions in those situations - it's a hard thing to do. And I think you are an extraordinary lady for making peace and being the bigger person for the sake of your child. I can't imagine how hard it is for you on so many levels, especially trying to explain it so that a 6-year old can understand. My hats off to you, girl. Seriously.

I'm with Sarah on Restaurant Boy - that a$$ had a huge set. And I woulda cut them off and put them on the menu. *ahem*

Talli Roland said...

I have a certain time period where I think I probably could take someone back (depending on what they've done, of course). In fact, Mr TR and I got back together after a breakup of about two months way back before we were married, but any longer than that and I don't think I could do it. You just close off your heart from that person, you know?

Christine said...

Anne, I admire your strength and your ability to stay true to yourself. I can't imagine how hard this is to do with a child, someone you love unconditionally, begging you to compromise. But you are doing the right thing because you're teaching her that sometimes being sorry isn't enough and sometimes changes come to late and it's important to know who YOU are so you can be ready for when all of those events happen--she will be strong because you are strong.

I wish I could hug you in person. But know I am here for you in spirit.

As for taking back a mean, nasty dog so he can bite me again? No way. I am very hard. Cold I've been told. But I have a solid guy because I refused to stay with one who was mean and nasty and had the audacity to say to me he never believed I'd have the guts to cut him out of my life.

Well I did. And I don't suffer fools gladly. Men or women. Not enough hours in the day!

Jen Daiker said...

I've always been a firm believer in "when it's over it's over" but I think it's because I've never experienced it any other way. I think it all comes down to the person!

Anne Gallagher said...

Tara -- Thanks. I think as parents we all have to do things we don't necessarily like but have to. And it's their happiness in the end that counts.

Talli -- Yeah, I agree. It depends upon what they've done, in my case, they were all cheaters. So that's really why my heart is closed up pretty tightly now.

Christine -- Good for you. Suffering fools gladly was what I did. But I learned my lessons there. Good for you for getting rid of a mean dog. Let someone else deal with the problem.

Jen -- You just have to know what your limitations are as a person before you know what you're willing to accept or not.

Patti said...

I admire your strength. You need to follow your gut.

Shelley Sly said...

Anne, dear, thank you so much for sharing this post. I'm sorry for all you went through, but there's no doubt in my mind that you are an incredibly strong person. (Also, I'm sure going through all that really helps the relationships in your novels to feel authentic. From what I've read, you have the relationship drama down!)

I tend to fall in the "when it's over, it's over" camp. Of course, every situation is different, but I've never taken an ex back.

Nicki Elson said...

Egh. I agree with Lynn about the forgiving not equaling forgetting. I also agree that every situation is different and perhaps ... maybe? ... there are some men out there evolved and compassionate enough to be able to repair the damage done by heartbreak. But my experience has been more like a grunt and a "get over it" and that just ain't gonna cut it.

P.S. Sorry for my delay in stopping over but I've been all caught up in a riveting Regency Romance. :) (I'll be ready for questions in a day or so.)

notesfromnadir said...

You're a very strong woman. & you'll make the right decision at the right time.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Wow, Anne, so sad to hear this story. I hope there's a happy ending in it for you somewhere. I suppose that happy ending has happened - that you can actually see him and be civil. That's a great thing! I always say follow your heart and instincts and it sounds like you are. :)