(As told to Veronica Wells)
Our breakup was so 21st century. It didn’t happen over the telephone but instead, over Skype. And after five years and a couple of “breaks” before, the brief speech he delivered, after a full two hours of conversation, just left me feeling numb. I did everything short of shrug. I simply said “Ok Kenneth.”
He, at times shockingly honest, said, “I thought you would be more…hurt by all of this.”
I told him I was too tired to be hurt. We said goodbye and closed my computer screen.
A month later, I saw that he had a new girlfriend. Obviously a pretty serious one as she was spending the holidays with his family. A family I had come to know and love over the years. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there was some overlap. But like I said, I was just over it. There was no need to confront, get upset or rehash. What was done was done. And that’s exactly what we were. He just might not have been completely honest about the reasons why.
Anyway, by the time the spring rolled around Kenneth was reaching out to me via e-mail. He wanted to provide clarification. He said if I had any questions about the reasons why and how our relationship ended, he would be happy to answer them. I told him I didn’t have any questions. The reasons really didn’t matter. In my heart and in my mind I knew that there was overlap or at least inappropriate conversations and flirtation before our relationship was officially over. So I didn’t need his confirmation. I told him I wished him the best and even suggested that, out of respect for his new girlfriend, he stop talking to me. He said he had a conversation with new boo. There was an understanding that I would always be in his life, as a friend.
I thought, “I know you lyin!”
I typed: “That’s very selfish of you Kenneth. There’s a good chance that she, as your new girlfriend, doesn’t feel comfortable with you talking to your old one. And if you care about her, you shouldn’t want her to feel uncomfortable and insecure. We’ll always love each other but we don’t have to communicate anymore.”
And for a full year that did enough to keep him away. After that though, he did reach out to my family members, to tell them how much they’d meant in his life. It was heartfelt and sincere and my family appreciated it. A few weeks after that, he sent me a message saying much of the same. He also apologized for the way he handled things. Not explaining what those things were.
I accepted the apology.
A few months after that I learned that he and new boo were engaged.
My sister saw the news first and was worried about telling me, thinking I was going to have some type of breakdown about my loss love. I told her no. Everything was good. I was happy for him even and I hoped he could be better to her than he was to me.
In fact, I was so happy about the changes he’d made in several areas of his life that I felt compelled to tell him that I was proud of him. I checked with his mother first to make sure it was ok and then I sent him an e-mail telling him so. And that was it.
The two got married this past November and just last week, I got another message from Kenneth. He was reaching out to apologize again. He told me that had a dream about me and took that as a sign that he needed to reach out and apologize…again.
I thanked him again and told him that I’d already forgiven him and I wished him the best…again.
I ran all of this by my family members and my sister seems to think that he’s still apologizing, even now that he’s married, because he’s still holding on to some residual guilt. My brother seems to believe that he’s not entirely over me and is looking for any excuse to contact me. I don’t necessarily believe that’s the case. I would hope not. Plus, I think he’s happy with his wife.
Personally, I feel sorry for him that he can’t forgive himself. I think that it is an admirable quality to apologize when you do someone wrong as opposed to going on about your life. It shows growth. I just want him to forgive himself and let it be a lesson learned honestly.
He knows he didn’t behave as well as he should have. And even though he’s moved on in virtually every area of his life, the guilt is still plaguing him. If that’s not a cautionary tale, for men and women, to treat people properly, even in the midst of a breakup, I don’t know what is.