The Logical One

by Jane Moneypenny

“I’m not okay. I’m not.”

My friend Angela wails into the phone (I’ve never heard wailing in person until now) louder now.

“BUT I LOOOOOOOVE HIM. I GAVE HIM ALL OF MY 20s.”

I sigh.

“Don’t be a drama queen. You’re only 25. You only started dating him at 21. Calm down. And you don’t love him; you love some former ideal version of him that no longer exists.”

Yes, I’m into tough love (it’s been awhile since their breakup).

Two seconds after her declaration of love, she starts screaming (I’m not kidding, full-on psychotic screaming):

“I HATE HIM! I HAAATE HIM! I NEVER WANT TO SEE HIM AGAIN.”

This goes on for the next hour. She wavers from being calm while listening to me tell her how I got through it and hysterically screaming (I had to hold the phone away from my ear) as if someone was stabbing her to death.

“Angela, if I could make it through 6 years of seeing him every day and still make it out alive and somewhat intact, you can easily make it through not seeing him ever again and moving on.”

More wailing about all the love she’s given him.

“You just have to let yourself move one. You’re holding onto some hope he’ll see you again, so you don’t really try to get over him. He’s never going to change or suddenly fall in love with you. This isn’t the movies!”

She cries some more.

“How are you so level-headed?! I hate her! Why that girl? She’s so ugly! I’m way cuter.”

Ouch. “Well, it doesn’t matter what he does or who he sees; focus on you and you only.”

Two days later, another friend Chrissy is lamenting about being dumped and how alone she feels. She’s 35 now and is tired of being on her own, no matter how kick-ass she is. With a body of an 21-year old and hoards of men drooling after her, she still can’t figure out why she’s single.

On the other side, Sarah has just ended a year relationship with her slightly dense boyfriend. He’s taking it hard and not understanding anything. She’s 24; he’s 31. It wasn’t time for her to settle and the level of mental and social intelligence were on very different levels. She runs to NY for a few days to visit for her first time a few days after the breakup; he’s devastated and entering the angry stage.

“He’s mad at me.”

I almost start laughing, “Well, yeah. You dumped him, and even though it was for very legit reasons, the offending party never sees it that way. Everything you do feels to him as if you’re out to hurt him, even if that’s clearly not the case.”

“I guess I’m being insensitive. I’ve never been dumped. How are you so logical?”

I’ve apparently grown up a lot in the last few years. When did I become so logical about love and getting hurt? Maybe you’re not supposed to be rational, but I remember a time when I would cry all night, wondering why he didn’t love me back or why he was with that girl or being a jerk. Years later, I still get hurt, still stare at the phone waiting for a phone call, but I’m calmer now. Maybe I’ve been through the worse or maybe I know no matter how hard (and it never really gets easier), I’ll always find a way back on my feet.

Things I’ve learned in the last few years:

  1. The trick here is to not let guys get a pass for treating me badly just because they weren’t “as bad” or abusive as my ex. “Hey, at least he’s not like him” isn’t going to do the trick. No need to be surprised when a guy calls because they should call.
  2. “He’s a great guy, but…” is constantly heard. Sarah calls it the “But Rule;” if there’s a “but..,” then it’s probably a sign you’re letting things go that shouldn’t be ignored. “He’s super fun, but…never calls me, never talks to me, never really cares…”
  3. A guy who claims he’s not drunk is always drunk. They’ll say anything to get action including swearing up and down drunkenness is not in the picture. Trust me, always drunk.
  4. The “let’s watch a movie” line is always fodder for “this is my way of getting you close to me on the couch so I can make a move.” Often, this happens late after a night out and there’s been alcohol involved (see a pattern? At least I’m sober…)
  5. If a guy doesn’t have close guy friends, it’s a bad sign. Say what you will about movie “I Love You, Man” but it’s pretty dead on. Their ability to socially interact properly is a little off.

On another note, the new job is going well and I’m loving the new apartment. Friends around me keep hinting that means a new man is coming soon and continually give me +1 to weddings (I have 6 next year!), but I just laugh it off. Because as lonely as it gets sometimes (and it really does), I’ve done it so well on my own now that I think I’ll be okay, man or no man.

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