on being broken


I know in posting the poem earlier, I said I was doing so ostensibly to stave off talking about what was really going on, but that was much, much earlier in the evening, long before I spent hours working on a freelance project that would have been done at a reasonable hour had I not spent 48 minutes on the phone (mostly crying) followed by four hours getting that project done (when it should have taken only two or three). And now it’s 4:30am, and I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight (if at all), and the only thing left to do to tire my brain out is write it all out. I’ll be as vague as possible but, frankly, at this point I don’t even think the other person involved deserves that much anymore.

A little more than two weeks ago, I was lied to about something that, over time, has grown in significance. The subject matter isn’t relevant, but it was important enough at the time that it was what had been holding me back from having sexual relations with the person in question. We had a conversation in which assurances were made, I felt comfortable having said relations, and said relations were had.

On Sunday, I found out that the assurances had been lies. Not lies since they had been made, but lies at the very moment they had been made. Understandably, I felt not only betrayed but also violated physically, as though I’d been duped into having sex – this person knew the assurances were what were needed for sexual relations to happen. I doubt he consciously meant to be so manipulative, but I also doubt it wasn’t at least a factor. This breach of honesty threw our relationship into – at best – a holding pattern. I was given some (dubious) reassurances that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were, that the violation of trust wasn’t as horrible as I feared, etc. etc. etc. I was told that “proof” was forthcoming. But I’m not stupid, and I knew from the tone of voice and the way that these things were being said that this reassurances, too, were probably lies.

I’ve mostly refused contact with this person all week, but tonight finally accepted a phone call from him. And in that phone call the truth came out. Not only was I correct about my suspicions, but they were worse than I’d ever imagined. I’ve been lied to – both lies of omission and commission – as well as cheated on (and lied to about the cheating). And all this after an explicit conversation in which I expressly stated that if there were ever any infidelity of any sort, our relationship would automatically be over, with zero chance of reconciliation or forgiveness.

I don’t even know how to reconcile any of this in my mind. If I was dumbfounded by the dishonesty – the lying not after the fact but while we were lying in bed together and promising to tell each other the truth – I’m thoroughly gobsmacked by the cheating mere days after an explicit conversation about how that would be the complete and utter end to our relationship.

What makes this all the worse is that this comes from a man who has heard stories about the relationships I’ve had in the past and has made comments like, “I hope I’m never lumped in with THOSE guys.” A man who wondered how other people could have treated me badly, when those “bad” things – I assure you – pale in comparison to the things he has done over the past several weeks. This man has broken me in ways that I never saw coming, and it will take me a very long time to recover from it – and he still had the audacity to ask me earlier today if I would go see a movie with him this weekend.

I have a difficult time setting boundaries, particularly with people I care about. I also have a hard time cutting people off, especially if I feel even an ounce of sympathy for them. Both of those things are in play here, and it’s taking every ounce of my being to maintain my self-dignity here. Because that’s what it is: this is no longer about me feeling compassion for someone else who is hurting or in pain or needs help or compassion or me to be patient with them. That might have been the case when he was dealing with more minor issues, but at this point he has completely and utterly incapacitated me. He has broken me, not only my heart but my ability to trust anyone. That may sound melodramatic, but oh well. He was my best friend in the entire world before we ever became lovers, and that makes a difference. A huge one. It makes it an even deeper betrayal, even worse because I probably won’t ever have the answers I want about how and why it all happened.

For now, it’s 5am and I’ll only get three hours of sleep and I’ll be another hot mess tomorrow, subsisting on Red Bull and chocolate donuts to get me through the day. I’m off to take a hot shower and hope that crying in the steam will make my face less puffy at work tomorrow, because – irony among ironies – my boss is expecting me to use my relationship with this person who has broken me so thoroughly to help me out in my new position. So I can’t even escape him entirely if I try.

I moved to New York thinking I’d be going to a place where there were no reminders of people who had hurt me, no places all over the city littered with memories of failed romances. And boy have I ever fucked that one up. I wish he’d never come here. I wish he’d stayed in Chicago – with his supposedly-estranged wife – and I could have had my New York life without him.