Sunday, 28 September 2014

13 years

My thoughts when I came home from work a couple of Tuesdays ago were fairly commonplace. I had stood on the corner of the road, talking to a colleague for a while, our gossiping not complete from a full 8 hours or so at work. I tried to remember what we were supposed to be having for dinner that night. I knew I still had to unpack my bag from our long weekend in France. We had returned home at 6pm the night before and I hadn't been able to be bothered to do the unpacking, deciding to postpone it to another day to remain relaxed and stress-free.

In the thoughts of dinner and unpacking and anything else that might have been running through my head there were no thoughts at all about what was actually going to happen when I walked in the door. That I would be faced with a boyfriend with his bags already packed telling me he was leaving me.

He was gone less than 15 minutes later.

Here we are 12 days later and I have only just now even scratched the surface of being able to write down what my feelings are.

Everyone talks about the shock that you experience when something like this happens. What no-one tells you about is how long the shock continues for. 12 days later and I am still in shock. For a while I didn't know it was shock, I just thought that I had composed myself remarkably well.

The day after it had happened, after 3 hours sleep, I was up at 5am to go to London for work. I got up and got dressed and sat on a train and got caught up in tube closures and had to queue for 45 minutes for a taxi and attended the conference and networked and then shut myself in a toilet cubicle and cried all through lunch. I attended the rest of the conference and had to run like the clappers to catch the tube and my train. 

The second I set foot on the train home at 7pm I started crying again. I cried the 2.5 hours it takes to get from London St Pancras to East Midlands Parkway. Not great, heaving sobs, just an outpouring of tears from my eyes, the tide of which I couldn't stem.

I went to work the next day and I went to work the next and I have continued to go to work over the last 12 days, I haven't had one day off.

I talked to friends and family about what had happened. 

He came and picked up all his belongings from the flat. 

At various points over the last 12 days I have cried and I have cried and I have cried and I have cried but if you'd asked me, I couldn't have identified one emotion that I was feeling. I knew I should be angry. I knew that I should be bereft. I knew that I should be confused. But I didn't feel anything. It is a very strange situation to be in to know that you should have feelings but not be able to actually vocalise what they are.

It turns out that I was in shock.

I have worried that people must think that I am heartless. "How can she possibly have come to work every single day for the past two weeks?" they must have thought. "How is she not sat at her desk constantly crying? How is she still managing to laugh and joke with us?" My answer is that I don't know. I really don't know. 

What they don't know is that every morning I have woken up after a shocking night's sleep (7 hours is the most I've got by a long shot in any one night in the past 12 days) and not wanted to get out of bed at all. They don't know that at about 5.15pm I go to the toilet and lock the door and take deep breaths and cry a little bit because I don't want to go home at all. I don't want to go back to the flat that was my sanctuary which turned into a place of betrayal.

They don't know that I have been walking around for 12 days wondering why everyone is carrying on as normal. People are doing their weekly shop in Tesco. People are sat in pubs drinking. People are sat in meetings at work. And in every one of these situations I have literally had to stop myself from screaming. And I mean literally. I have had to take deep breaths in the salad aisle to stop myself from shouting "How can you act as if everything is normal, when the world has just ended?

Weekly work project update calls where people have asked me "And what are you working on?" and I have had to stop myself from saying, "Well, I've actually been working on forcing myself to eat something other than one slice of toast a day and shrivelling up into a ball and rocking in a corner. As for anything else, I really couldn't give a shit, because it turns out that nothing actually matters any more."

I don't know how everything else can be normal when my life has been turned so upside down. Isn't there some kind of butterfly effect? Isn't the ripple of this expanding out in ever decreasing circles to those around me? How can you be stood in the queue to get your Starbucks this morning when I could barely summon the energy to put clothes on?

For 13 years he has been in my life. For about 9 of those he has been one of my closest friends and for the past 4 he has been my best friend. My one and only and my Person. A lot has happened over the past four years - the long distance, his parents breaking up, my redundancy and ensuing unemployment, the crappy jobs we both hated, moving apart, trying to build new lives in a new town. A lot of turmoil has taken place, but the one constant throughout it all, my one security in life, was us. His love for me was one of the only things I was sure about. I don't have a lot of faith in anything or anyone, but us? Us I had faith in. He is the only person I've ever imagined when I have dared to look into the future.

To suddenly discover that not only is that security no longer there, but that it was a mirage is enough to send you in to shock.

You see whilst I was merrily picturing a future with us together, he was imagining a way to make sure there was no future with us together.

When we were out the week before he left and a friend said to us "We were just talking about you guys and saying that you are basically the same person, you are so well suited" - I was basking in the glow of the compliment whilst he was...who even knows what he was thinking. 

When I was sat planning the shopping for next week's dinners. He was sat buying furniture for his new flat.

Yes. You read that right. Before allowing me into the secret that he was leaving, he made sure he was set up. When he left, he already had his flat and had been sat about 10 foot away from me buying furniture for his new place. When we went to France for the long weekend he was sat there with my Dad, knowing that he was about to leave that man's daughter. When I sat there talking about plans for maybe coming out next year, he sat there, agreeing, making plans with me, knowing that his furniture from Argos was already on order and the rental checks were being completed on his new place.

You think that you have questions? You should be inside my brain. 

As the shock has worn off I have realised that I have been cheated of a proper ending. You can't end 13 years in less than 15 minutes. You can't say "I don't feel the same way any more" and think that that is a sufficient explanation. I am also going to have to come to terms with the fact that these questions will never be answered. Someone that was so cowardly as to not have the conversation in the first place is not going to dignify me with a proper explanation.

I know that I have to move on. It is what it is and there's nothing that can be done about it now. I know that it's better that I know now and not even later down the line. I know that I'm better off without him and that I can do better. I know that worse things happen at sea and that I should be grateful I still have my health and a job. 

I know that there's only so long that I can continue to be shaken to the core by this. That sooner or later everyone else will move on and no-one will feel obliged to feel concern for me. No-one will ask me "How are you?" with that look of pity in their eyes. I know that time is running out to come to terms with this because the longer that it goes on, the harder it will become to get over. 

I tried to cleanse the flat of every piece of him. But apart from a stack of empty photo frames and a new lamp on the desk that was once his, I have been unable to move any further. The rails on his side of the wardrobe remain bare and the drawers that contained his clothes are still empty. 

In a way the stuff was easy to erase, much harder to erase are the memories. I have tried to make myself feel better by delving back into my mind to bring up happy memories, but he taints all of them with his presence. I hate that he was part of watching my best friend get married and I hate that he is intrinsically linked with Manchester, my favourite place in the whole world.

I was supposed to finally get my fairy tale. I was supposed to be with the person that I had known for years. The person that had stuck around even when we weren't together, waiting for me. The person who had pursued me and tried to win me back. I was supposed to get the person that was the extension of me. Because we really were the same person. That friend who said that to us the week before the world ended is not the first person to have said that. I think the one comfort I can take in all of this is that in the past 12 days anyone and everyone that I have spoken to has been completely shocked. Those that have known him from 13 years ago and those that have known him in the past year, they have been as shocked as I am. The phrase "I can't believe it" has become as commonplace to me now as "Good Morning" is.

I have always tried, and I think succeeded, to make sure that I remained my own person no matter what relationship I have been in. I have been proud of my independence and I actually think that is the reason that I have not completely lost it in the past 12 days. But no matter how much I have been sure who I am, I don't know who I am in relation to anything other than him. He was my anchor and the point around which most things revolved. I can't feel sorry about that, I don't think you can be together for any length of time and not have that happen. I was still capable of being my own person and going and doing my own things without him, but it never once occurred to me that I would go and do those things and not come back to him.

The main issue that I have to come to terms with is is that after 13 years of knowing him, I didn't really know him at all.


  1. Oh goodness!!! That is just horrible and I really wish I could say something helpful. Please know that I care and am thinking of you, even if I can say nothing.
    I cannot imagine how you are feeling. My ex boyfriend broke up with me suddenly after maintaining our relationship through my studying abroad for a year, and I remember finding it inconceivable that he reached that decision without saying a thing to me until he wanted to split up but that whole thing was on such a small scale compared to your situation. Sending you many hugs. Z

  2. This was painful to read. Im so sorry. I wish I could offer you some words of wisdom but I have none.
    Just look after yourself and grieve at your own pace. Time heals, but unfortunately you cannot brew a cup of time.
    Take care.

  3. Poor poorhouse I felt for you so much when reading this, and I can't really say anything to help. Get through each day at a time, keep active even if youmdontmwant to, then one day you will realise you haven't cried, and things will get better. This is what my mum told me when I recently got broken up with. It's just shitty. Lots of love.

  4. I have read your blog for some time now and I too found this difficult to read. You have always seemed so confident in your posts and I hope you can take some strength from this. This is not an easy time and I wanted to wish you love x

  5. It broke my heart to see your tweet two weeks ago and it broke again reading this. What a horrible, shitty, unfair thing to happen; the audacity of his actions takes my breath away. Sending you lots of hugs x

  6. How utterly shit. Much love to you xxx

  7. Well, that really sucks. This was heart-breaking to read but the entry is well-composed and hits a hard impact on me, even as a quiet bystander. I almost believed that if I didn't read the rest or if I skipped to the end that it might not be true, alas. The bits about people going about their daily lives while your daily life as you knew it is gone really struck a chord and empathy pours - I am in shock and so sad for you, I can't even imagine the extent to which you are feeling stuff.

  8. I am sending you so much love, i there is anything I can do, or if you want to escape to Cheltenham for a bit, let me know.

    Maria xxx

  9. Oh no!! This was horrible to read and I am so sorry this has happened and you're going through this. A good amount of this registered with me - how long my ex was in my life as my friend and then my best friend, and then the negative feelings I had towards a city I loved with all my heart; Manchester! The worst part in all this is the shear amount of betrayal and the complete lack of answers! I feel pretty effing angry on your behalf!!

    As for advice: it's going to be shit, I'm sure you know this. How to deal with that shitiness? Let yourself feel all of the emotions that arrive; angry, sad, upset, miserable, depressed, triumphant (but not too much that you rebound like I did). Do not bottle those feelings up. Do not tell yourself you shouldn't feel them, or that you constantly look on the bright side, or that you should pick yourself and pretend like nothing's happened. Something's happened and you need to permit yourself to react to it. Otherwise, 6 months, a year down the line, you'll actually have depression. Get an activity, or continue to do one that you love. Physical exercise is particularly good. Alcohol is not.

    That all sounds pretty negative but hopefully you perhaps know me a little to know that I'm not one to polish a turd. But the other thing I can say is that you will be alright. At some point, you will get through a whole hour without thinking of what's happened. Or thinking of him. Then it will be an entire day. And at some point you will find you might wonder what he's doing now, and in the same minute, that thought passes.

    I am thinking of you and can offer uber negative advice whenever you need it.


  10. Oh my goodness. What a truly appalling way to be treated. I'm so sorry that this has happened. Jennifer is right, it'll be hard work but you'll get through this, little by little, one day at a time. Be sure to take your time but more importantly take care of yourself.
    Fill those drawers, those photo frames and do whatever it takes to make yourself feel whole again.
    Thinking of you and sending you good vibes x

  11. It hurt me to read this, so I can't imagine how you're feeling. Incredibly brave of you to write about it, though, I'm not sure I could have done after my last break-up. As people have said above, I just wish there was something I could do! Just know people are thinking of you, and here when you need them.

  12. I'm so so sorry to read this. I'm so sad for you. Sending all my love to you xxxx

  13. Oh sweetie, I wish I knew what to say, I really do. Sending you lots of big hugs right now. Make sure to look after your self xx

  14. That's so shite. So sad to hear your news. It is a grieving process, so take your time and do what you need to do to get through it. big hug.

  15. That's utterly shite, I genuinely feel for you. Sending good wishes your way xx

  16. What a shock. I can't believe someone would do that - without a word, no talk, no explanation. I know my comment is pointless (especially I've really just been a lurker here) and nothing I say will make you feel any better, but thought I'd just drop in a comment to say that is absolutely shit, what an awful thing he did to you - you deserve better. Looks like you have lots of support from your bloggy friends. Thinking of you.

    1. PS, I just found your twitter too and loved your little Tractor. It totally looks like one, a John Deere too I reckon! Love it.

  17. I've been pretty non-existent in the blog reading world so have only just read this now, but you know my feelings on it all already, I think. Always at the end of the phone and not really that far away if you ever need me x

  18. I really don't know what I can say, I'm so shocked. He's a shit and you deserved a better ending or for it to not end at all. I say Team Norbury needs to re-unite for a weekend of good food and reading x

  19. It's like having your legs kicked out from under you, as you slam down on the floor you know it's going to hurt but that fact that someone who said they loved you could make that happen just stuns you. ((((hugs)))) Be kind to yourself and don't put time limits on what and when you should be 'feeling' things.

  20. Shit. I am so sorry. Horrible horrible. Huge hugs and positive thoughts. x

  21. Wow, just read this...this is so sad, I'm so sorry. I didn't realise. I feel like my last message was rather flippant now! What a total shock. I hope you are getting by okay. It sucks! I really know how it has taken me ages to put my last serious relationship behind me and its aftermath effects and that was 5 years ago...all I can say is...time heals and once you do move on it is okay. I am even kind of protective of my singledom these days...though it would be nice to have someone sometimes. I hope he regrets it. He doesn't deserve you and the way he handled it was pretty cowardly I have to say...and deceitful. You deserve better. It is such a shame but I guess the thing is to try and be positive...pah everything I write sounds cliche and useless...Just big hug I suppose...and hang in there. xxx


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