“You’re still the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. My life would’ve turned out so differently if you never left,” my ex said hopelessly in a voice just above a whisper. We were having our monthly debate about why we can’t and shouldn’t get back together. Judging by the seriousness in his voice, one would think that we had just broken up a few months ago, possibly even a year ago. One would think he hasn’t had anyone special in his life since we parted ways. That isn’t the case though. The truth of the matter is that we’ve been apart for nearly six years. In those six years, a slew of women have entered his life. One of which he had a child with, and another is actually his current girlfriend who he’s contemplating proposing to.
He was the first man I loved romantically, my high school sweetheart. He was also the first to break my heart. I met him during my freshman year and we were inseparable all the way up until senior year. One October afternoon, out of the blue, he called me up at work to tell me that he no longer wanted to be in a relationship. I was floored. He had to be joking. I gave him some time to call me back and apologize saying, “I don’t know what I was thinking.” We had broken up only to get back together a few times before, so I expected that would happen again. That phone call never came. I called him for a few days in a row, crying and making a fool of myself. But after awhile, I gave up. I told myself it was over, gave up any hope of us getting back together, had my grieving period, and got over it.
About four months after receiving that dreaded phone call, I received another one. This time, he was telling me how he was ready to get back together. I took him back, but I instantly realized that things weren’t the same and they’d probably never be. Emotionally, I was finished, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t revive those old feelings. Sure I loved him, but being in love with him was a different story. I stuck around for a while and tried to work it out. More than anything, I didn’t want to hurt him in the same way that he hurt me. But, what could I do? It was done and so I eventually ended it. In time he got over it and we remained friends, but not without him initiating his bi-monthly “I think we can work it out” conversations.
Six years later, a couple of boyfriends on my part and several girlfriends on his, we’ve still managed to maintain quite a strong friendship. I can’t really imagine him not being in my life, but at the same time, I will never deny that our friendship is abnormal. He still appears to be very much in love and hopelessly believing that there’s a possibility of a reunion between us, no matter how many times or how many ways I tell him it isn’t going to happen. I feel the guilt that I could possibly be sabotaging his current relationship by knowing how he feels and continuing to maintain communication with him. I know that I would never want to seriously date a guy who was still carrying on this kind of friendship with his ex. “I think I may propose to her,” he told me one afternoon on the phone. “That’s great, have you started looking at rings?” I asked him. “Are you sure you’re not still in love with me?” he responded. “I can’t imagine that I still love you this much for no reason,” he continued.
It’s conversations like that one that make me feel like I should cut off communication. But, no matter how many times I’ve tried, it never seems to work. Somehow, someway, we wind up speaking again. Sometimes it’s a death in his family. Sometimes it’s his daughter’s mother giving him grief. Sometimes he just needs an ear. And somehow, I always wind up being that ear.
Watching Joe Budden and Tahiry week after week on “Love & Hip Hop” with their constant back and forth is like looking in a mirror (minus the drink throwing and substance abuse, of course). It makes me come to grips with the fact that these dysfunctional and emotional relationships are unhealthy. It’s like they hinder growth and progress in a sense. One week they’re fighting about old stuff that happened during their relationship, the next week they’re friends again and the following week she’s his counselor and confidant. It’s all emotionally draining and you eventually have to ask yourself, where does this road end?
Follow Jazmine Denise on Twitter @jazminedenise
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