How do you know when it’s time to stop attempting to resuscitate a drowning relationship? To stop the chest massage and the mouth-to-mouth? When do you step back, look at your watch, and call it?
After my epiphany about my apparent need for drama, the drama with Mack escalated. The calm periods grew more and more infrequent, as did the make-up sex. He’s living with a roommate (“ex”-girlfriend) who forbade him to see me, so he had to sneak in the make-up sex. In between the sneaking, he hammered on me incessantly about everything he could come up with, including things he created in his head. I grew weary. I saw no way out for us. The obstacles kept increasing in number, and seemed insurmountable.
And just when I’d get ready to call it, to write my Time of Death blog, he’d become sweet, kind, rational. I’d have second thoughts. Maybe we can work it out. We love each other. The sex is second to none. True, we have very little in common, but opposites attract, right? We’re clearly attracted to each other. When he’s being rational, he’s very kind and loving. He’s got a good heart. Maybe with time and patience, and love, we can get it right.
But the problem wasn’t the lack of love, or attraction, or moments of kindness. The problem was that Mack was living with another woman (purportedly platonically). He would not tell this woman, his ex-girlfriend of fifteen years, that he was continuing to see me. This made it impossible for us to have any semblance of a normal relationship during the course of which we could attempt to repair the damage we’d done. I told Mack I wasn’t willing to sneak around, and that this arrangement was intolerable. He brushed aside my objections. Rather than addressing the real issues, Mack became irrational and taunted me. Admittedly. And I took the bait. We argued. On the phone. On email. These arguments would go back and forth spanning days at a time. They left me feeling exhausted. Spent. Weary.
And then Mack would sneak away to see me, and we’d talk about the bleakness of our situation. We both knew we couldn’t go on like this. But eventually we’d find ourselves in bed, where the sex was frantic, desperate, intense. Afterward, we were sweet and tender. And then he’d leave and go back home to his purported roommate. I knew I wouldn’t see him again for a week. And I knew that during that week, we’d fight via email and phone. I knew this would continue.
Superbowl Sunday was no exception. But this time I felt different. I didn’t take the bait. I left his taunts lying there in the dirt. Without my responding in kind, giving them life, they lost energy, withered and died. It was then that I realized I didn’t have the energy to continue. It had become too much to deal with.
It wasn’t worth it.
I sent Mack an email and told him that I accepted his repeated proclamations that, “We’re done.” (I would have called, but he rarely answered the phone due to his “ex”-girlfriend’s disdain for me.) The next step was to break the news to my family. I’d been dreading this for weeks, having made the big announcement of our engagement Christmas Eve. Suddenly, I felt ready. I was anxious to come clean. I was tired of the farce. As Mack was fond of saying, “It’s reality, Ella.” So I sent an email to my nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, etc. and told them the engagement was off. I called my mother and gave her the news.
And on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 8:40 a.m., I called the official time of death of my relationship with Mack: I changed my relationship status on Facebook to single.
Even so, I find it difficult to not communicate with him. I find the temptation to get together for sex nearly impossible to resist. I fantasize about ways to have him in my life without being in an official relationship. I keep hoping that despite discontinuing CPR, the corpse will expel the water from its lungs and begin sucking in sweet, sweet oxygen again. Yes, I have called the official time of death. But I’m still hoping for a miracle.