Occasionally we will be featuring someone who recently suffered or is still suffering from a past breakup or related heartaches. This is the third interview in this series. To read the second interview in the series, click here.
1) Age, sex, relationship status
30. Female. In a relationship.
2) How long ago did the breakup happen? And how long had you been in the relationship when it happened?
About a year ago. Almost three years.
3) How did you meet?
He was my son’s after school teacher. I noticed he was really cute and always smiling. But he was my son’s after school teacher, so I never thought much about it. The first time it occurred to me was when that year’s school concert was coming up and he asked me if I could help out. He had been practicing with the second graders. On the day of the concert I came early and we were talking about the kids and getting them ready. When the kids went up on stage we were sitting next to each other on some chairs next to the stage. I remember thinking about how attractive he was. We were whispering to each other about the little mistakes the kids made and were smiling to each other. As we stood up to applaud at the end, he put his hand around my shoulders, very briefly, then he let go. I remember the chill down my spine when he touched me. I couldn’t stop thinking about him after that. The next few weeks I purposely showed up early. I knew my son wouldn’t want to leave right away. So it gave me some time with him. The kids were there and the other after school teacher was there too. But I just wanted some time to look at him. He always smiled when he saw me but I wasn’t sure if he saw me as anything more than my son’s mom. Then one day he took me by surprise. He asked me out on a date. I remember feeling a little weird about it, we were both single but he was my son’s after school teacher. But I said yes, and he took me to a restaurant the next Friday. After that we started seeing each other regularly.
4) What was your relationship like?
After about a year we talked about moving in together. In the end we decided not to. It was just too complicated. He didn’t have any kids, and he was younger than me and was still in college, and I was really busy with my son. But we saw each other three or four times a week. He stayed over once a week and every other weekend when my son was with his dad.
5) Who initiated the breakup? And what were the details of the breakup?
After we had been together for a couple years I was hoping he would propose. He was about to finish college, and I knew he was applying to grad school. But I didn’t want to take my son out of school and apply for a new job unless we got married. I sort of expected him to propose. But it just never happened. We even talked about him going away and what would happen. But he didn’t do anything about it. Eventually, I told him I wasn’t going to go with him, unless we had some kind of commitment. He wanted to know what kind of commitment, and I told him I wasn’t going to move unless we got married. He got very weird when I mentioned it. He said he had to think about it. Then I didn’t hear from him for several days. When he finally got back in touch, he told me he wasn’t going to marry me. I told him it was basically over then. We were both really sad the whole time until he left. We kept seeing each other, though. He also came down and visited a few times. Eventually he said he wasn’t going to visit anymore, he was just too busy with grad school. I think he found someone else, though I can’t say for sure.
6) What were the effects of the breakup physically and psychologically?
He was never very involved with my son, luckily. So it didn’t affect my son much. But for months I was crying every night after my son went to bed. When he made plans to visit I felt jittery and in love. Then when he left I felt sad again. When he finally told me he wasn’t going to visit anymore, I was heartbroken. I didn’t try to get him to change his mind. I guess I had seen it coming. But I was still completely out of it. I called in sick at work for a week. I didn’t see anyone or go out for a long time. I managed to take care of my son, though.
7) How did you cope?
I don’t know. I just sort of did what had to be done, went to work, picked up my son, took him to boy scouts. I didn’t feel like seeing anyone. Once in a while I saw some friends but it had a hard time letting go. One of my co-workers convinced me to try online dating. I didn’t feel like dating at all. But she talked me into it and helped me set up a profile. I met someone there about a month ago. We are really serious about each other. After about two weeks we agreed to be exclusive.
8) Did you try to get your ex back?
When we were still in contact and he was still visiting I was hoping he would marry me, so we could move. I even considered moving without getting married. But when I suggested it, he didn’t seem thrilled about it. He wasn’t against it either. But I got the feeling that he wasn’t really prepared for it. I didn’t feel like bargaining with him. At some point I kind of knew it wasn’t going to work out.
9) Do you miss your ex? If so, what do you miss most?
I miss those weekends when my son was with his dad and we spent all day cooking. We would start right after lunch, go shopping, then come home and start cooking. We would sip wine and talk and cook for hours.
10) What sort of impact has the relationship with your ex had on you as a person?
I am definitely a better cook now than I was before. I don’t think I am a different person, though. When I look back, I think it was mostly a fling for him. On some level he was just a fling for me, too, though it wasn’t fully clear in my mind at the time. I think I am more mature now and a lot more ready for a real relationship.
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