I just sent my friend Yusuf the following bit of advice: Just remember that making a new potential partner pay for someone else’s asshatery hurts both you and the new one. Life is too short to do that, and I honestly believe that if patient, then goodness and kindness attract the same 🙂
If you are the sort of person who likes to give, then the fact that you have to sort of suffocate that at some level, for fear of being hurt / taken advantage of, means that you’re also directly hurting yourself. And ultimately, love, we will all get hurt, no matter how hard we try to avoid it.
A few nights back, Maxi told me that when it came to matters of the heart, I have a “shut-off valve”. If I understand that correctly, it means that I have a capacity to turn feelings on or off and then move forward on that front.
Somewhat, I had to agree. ‘Somewhat’ because it’s not the feelings that I shut off, it’s the acting on the feelings themselves. When I was a crazy person who hid in the bushes, I pretty much WTF‘d my way through the first 24 hours post incident; not about the incident itself, but rather about what would possess me to stick around a couple of months after the moment I understood it was over. WTF possessed me to still believe and fight and try, when it was clearly: over?
As is usually the case with self reflection, I came up relatively empty-handed for the first little while. Then I had the following brainstorm: I shouldn’t have stuck around the moment I understood it was over.
And that thought turned into what Max has labelled a “shut-off valve”, something another man would experience in its fullest of forces nearly a year and a half post its development.
Extremely long story short, the very second I knew it was over was the second before I completely, totally and unequivocally cut this later man out of my life. Without even a discussion, but rather a very short and simple email; in hindsight, and based on his reaction, I know that it sent him spinning because literally, I isolated myself and made certain he had no way of contacting me. I refused to even take his calls. Worse still is that we were in different time zones and he would have been sleeping when I sent my little ‘bye’ note and proceeded to slam into the shut-off valve, and so he woke up to find that I had vanished.
I mean. I at least sent a ‘bye’ message.
I can not tell you if that was the right or wrong thing to do; only that it was the necessary thing to do for me at the time. My lessons learned from the crazy bush situation were that (1) when it’s over, then it’s fucking done, and (2) the best way to get over the hurt and pain is to initially create a sort of radio silence / media black-out where that individual is concerned (i.e., no Facebook friends, no Skype, no email, no chat, no calls, no nothing).
After just giving my friend the advice mentioned earlier, I realise that the later gentleman paid – only in part – for the blowback generated by my involvement with the former. (He also paid for playing in the shadows of relationships, as well as for my own naïveté. Actually, we both paid; there was blowback for the both of us. This kind of shit is never in favour of one individual or the other.) Would I change my reaction today? Additionally, am I being a hypocrite and making a new potential suffer the consequences of a past’s pain?
With regards to the first question, the answer can only be: Possibly. Possibly, I would temper my response, depending on the nature of the relationship at hand. Possibly, I would engage in a discussion before slamming into the valve; provide a little warning and a little opportunity for a conversation. Possibly, so that we may both walk away feeling as though we have some answers, rather than gaping holes and questions. “Possibly” because when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s easier said than done…and it’s easiest to stand outside of a situation and say “believe in the goodness of others” when you’re not the one whose heart has suddenly been swallowed by a black hole.
As to the second question – and please disagree with me if you will (I would love a greater conversation on this issue) – I don’t believe I am being a hypocrite, only because there is a distinction to be made between our actions while we are inside of a relationship, and our actions when the relationship has ended. Beyond a shadow of any doubt, there is nothing that has changed about me when I am still in the playing field and where there exists potential. I am engaged and open and vulnerable and excited and looking forward to every moment of it. There is nothing of the past that casts any shadow on either the present or the potential.
And so only because of that reality can I honestly and in good faith still mean what I sent my friend Yusuf.
I’m not as nice as you. I fucking yell and scream and then try to make people have a miserable life. I don’t have a shut off valve on anything.
Ok for the record, I fucking LOVE LOVE LOVE the story of the day you were in the bushes. It doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I think it’s some funny ass shit and the fact that it doesn’t make me think of you as a weirdo creepy person says that much about your writing abilities! Fucking aces. -lily
your willingness to put everything out into the openess is one of the things I cherish about you. i won’t discuss me cus you know me 😉 but I think if “maxi” knows you as well as he seems to, then the shut off valve is more than endings. you also do it when people are asshats who are friends or more. you have always been this way and you are ruthless about it which is to be commended because so many of us end up wallowing and hanging around for more asshattery or more pain.
like lily, i really love that entry about the bushes 😉
I think we’ll all be haunted by the ghosts of past relationships and we carry on all that we’ve learnt/baggage into our present relationships: It is the inevitable. Sometimes, we learn from our mistakes and from that, make other mistakes believing that whatever we are doing is the ‘right’ thing to do, failing to understand that not every man is the same and not everything we learn will apply to that particular individual. The ‘shut off valve’, from what I understood, in my own opinion, is a self destructive tool . It could be as a result of a lot of hurt and its a type of defense mechanism that you are using today just before you start feeling the symptoms of another heartbreak (be it friends or significant other). Everyone, I mean everyone should be given a chance to talk or redeem themselves because you will also release all the negativities of whatever issue, and move on.
You are not being a hypocrite, in fact, what you said to J is something that you strive to be at. Its just your heart voicing out where it wants to be 🙂
I respect you for taking action for your own good. When I decided to leave a failing hurtful relationship, I decided to play the nice card and cut cords one day at a time rather than shut the valve all together. I can you that it was not a pleasant experience, for either of us.
As much as he deserved the pain and suffering, I am now able to see that I subjected myself to the same pain. In hindsight, i should have shut the valve the very instant I knew it was over.
Thank you for the sharing.
Oh mate, you must have crushed this fellow. You wouldn’t even take his calls?
Have you spoken since and has he recovered? Poor bloke, Maha!
I am amazed at your ability to be so………passionate and involved, and then be able to also have this sort of a valve….
I can’t comment on whether or not your use of the valve is justified or not; that’s something you have to decide for yourself. But you know that already.
I just wanted to say, some time and some distance are crucial even after separations that aren’t heartbreaking. Some time back a relationship I was in came to an end, and we both realized it fully, but like Sumaira we did not cut everything off immediately, and that made it much harder than it had to be. It took each of us travelling for weeks in opposite directions to bring things to where I think we can really move on.
i hope everything works out well for you and for everyone involved.