Everybody has their own version of a horrible break up story. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced being lied too, cheated on, taken advantage of, and even emotional or physical abuse in a relationship. We’ve all been exposed to the countless horror stories that cut like a knife from either our own experiences or those of someone we know. I’m not trying to one-up anybody here, but I’m pretty sure my horrible break up story is worse than your co-workers, friends, cousin, Amanda’s. Let’s just say that life gave me lemons, and I couldn’t make lemonade without asking for permission first.
Fresh out of my marriage, I thought I was finally on the greener side of the grass. Little did I know, that the grass on the other side wasn’t exactly green. If I had looked really closely, I would have seen a bunch of tiny narcissists with selfie sticks, swinging from blade to blade-like little asshole monkeys in a rain forest of lies. Since my natural inclination is to automatically see the good in people, my naive and extremely vulnerable self jumped right into a relationship that was pretty tumultuous from the start. I really should have been able to see the events that transpired coming from a mile away, based on the sheer fact that I was dealing with a man who validated his self worth in selfies and conquests that mostly consisted of women who wrote jokes on the internet, in 140 characters or less. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I truly believed that I was the exception and that the outcome for me would be different (Let’s all just take a minute to roll our eyes together).
Ignoring all the red flags that were basically punching me in the face as if I were the underdog in a match-up against Conor McGregor, I proceeded to not only let him into my life but actively pursue. The force of someone who possesses a manipulative personality is something you can only truly understand if you’ve experienced it first hand. Before you can even question your own actions, you are just a shell of yourself being jerked around by invisible puppet strings like a helpless marionette. Some flags stand out more than others, but here is a list of just some of the red flags that I shouldn’t have ignored. Ladies, take note:
- When a man posts more selfies than your 14-year-old niece who just discovered Snapchat, red flag.
- When a man still has a girlfriend when you meet him and he tells you he’s breaking it off with her for you and it takes him 3 months or more to do so, multiple red flags.
- When he describes all the women from his past as “crazy”, and blames them for everything that went wrong in their relationship, red flag.
- When a man won’t acknowledge or add you to his social media pages after a year of dating, MAJOR red flag.
- When he cries at a dancing 3 legged dog on America’s Got Talent, get off the couch immediately and head to your nearest women’s shelter!
Under a spell of infatuation and the potential that things would improve, I began to settle into a lifestyle that was both comfortable and desirable not only myself but the outside world. Completely engulfed in co-habitative bliss, the sweet outweighed the sour in a lot of ways. Saturday mornings spent at the local farmers market, long romantic walks through the aisles of HomeSense and NASCAR Sundays curled up on the couch that took months to pick out. I always held on to the fact that this person really understood who I was and he knew how to make me happy. Our mutual love for fine wine and Turkish cotton towels were always the good that came with the bad. In my la la land of dodging flags and making mason jar salads, I became quite good at justifying his belittling and disrespectful actions towards not only myself but to my undeserving family and friends. Making excuses for someone else’s behaviour became my full-time job. Where is HR when you need them?
A woman’s intuition is a powerful thing but we never seem to listen to it as much as we should. The feeling in your gut that someone is taking you for granted and projecting their own insecurities onto you to make you feel less than, isn’t something we should ever take laying down. In my case, I was laying down in a king-sized mattress on the floor surrounded by goose down pillows with someone who claimed to love me unconditionally but still felt the need to slip into any thirsty woman’s DM’s. As I got ready to leave on a much-needed girls trip to Naples, Florida, I had the rude awakening that my partner in crime had actually turned into my probation officer. Making me feel horrible on a regular basis for treating myself was one of his favourite ways to deflect from the underlying truth at hand.
A lemon by most people’s definition is bitter, sour, and at times, even a little bit sweet. As a woman, my natural instinct when life hands me a dilapidated lemon is to bring it back to life by being an overly nurturing doormat (apparently). Funny that a person who gave themselves the nickname of a detoxifying fruit, would also be the person who could benefit from said detox the most. Not ever having a substance abuse problem personally, it was hard for me to understand the need to blackout my emotions on a fairly regular basis, but as I watched one of my decorative planters being thrown off the balcony of our apartment and into the side of a van in a drunken, unnecessary rage, I realized that my lemon wasn’t only sour, it was completely rotted from the inside out.
Surprisingly, the choice to leave wasn’t my own, my lemon ultimately sought out greener pastures which by his definition, meant the town “lush”. As I crammed as much as I could from my lakefront condo into the back of my 2 door hatchback, which included the rug that was ripped out from under me, half the furniture and a set of mason jars that were clearly replaceable that I purely took out of spite, I felt gutted, mostly to be leaving behind my access to the 5th-floor gym.
As I tried to piece together the remnants of what was left of my self-esteem, the whole situation, unfortunately, took a turn for the worse when shit started hitting the fan like a grotesque murder scene out of a Quinton Tarantino movie. Having a gut feeling versus knowing the cold hard facts, unfortunately, doesn’t change the outcome of your emotional state, but it does make you feel less like a crazy person.
My validation came when I received a message from a woman scorned in a neighbouring province. Radiating venom in flames of desperation and malice, her words were the ones that would finally make sense of it all. All the pieces immediately fell into place with each exposed lie and the weight of all my self-doubt was lifted from my betrayed shoulders. With every gruesome detail coming to light, including a charming little anecdote that he took both one of his mistresses and myself to the same Blue Jays game, sneaking back and forth between innings (talk about a 7th inning stretch, imma-right?!), I felt the overwhelming need for protection and security, which unfortunately meant cutting ties with the people whom now represented a past life I’d sooner like to forget.
As each story started to surface from the bottom of the acidic sinkhole that was his own grave he had dug, I made the choice to take the high road…straight to my therapist. After an hour and a half of “can you fucking believe him?” revelations and coming to terms with the idea of dating again with newly developed harbouring trust issues (which lucky for me, happen to be trending right now), I spent the next year basically trying to recreate my own version of Julia Robert’s Eat Pray Love voyage. Running from my feelings while sipping airplane bottled wine in the emergency exit row, I was able to completely divulge myself in international selfishness. Spending much needed time with family on the west coast, doing yoga with the purest souls in Tulum, being able to wonder at the sheer beauty of Athena Nike’s much-deserved temple in ancient Greece, and even feeding giraffes while sipping Cab Sauv in sunny California, was really the only therapy that I needed. Not to mention, the drool-worthy Instagram photos that were revenge enough all on their own.
I’m not really sure how you ever get over a traumatic event of betrayed trust and being yelled at in public because clearly, I still have moments that I relive again and again in my mind, but just to know that my female intuition had been right the whole time, was pretty healing in itself.
I lost a lot more than just a cat and a set of Egyptian Cotton sheets from this experience, but I can safely say that what I gained from it was far more relevant. The life he provided felt priceless at times, but it ultimately came at a cost. Lemons may be a vibrant and refreshing fruit, but after being saturated in Vodka waters at the local dive bar week after week, they start to become pretty transparent. I don’t know if I believe in karma, but I do think that what you put out comes back. If that’s the case, I hope I have a front-row seat…in first class.
Signing off from Naples, Florida ✈️👍🏼