Back to Black

I broke it off with Mack for good. In the words of Amy Winehouse, he goes back to her, and I go back to black.

I wanted it to work. I wanted to want to live with him. I wanted to want to marry him. I kept hanging in, hoping he could make me want to keep going. But all I got was more emotional manipulation. He called me late one night a few weeks ago, while we were still together, and groused about the rough day he’d had working (he found a part-time job doing concert security). He was irritable and tired and when we hung up, I felt disappointed at our failure to connect. I had been missing him. He called again about ten minutes later, and I thought he was calling to attempt to reach out to me. Instead he said, “Oops, I didn’t mean to call you. I meant to call Corinne.”

“Really? You meant to call Corinne and you accidentally called me?” I said.

“Yeah. Is there something wrong with that? She worries.”

And the fucking gaslighting begins again. I’d just spent a week vacationing with him in Canada, and now he’s sending me the message that I’m wrong for being annoyed with his living situation. You know, the “roommate” whom he’s lived with for sixteen years who supports him. Of course, he could live with me and put a stop to all this. But I had just told him I wasn’t ready for that. So really, it was my fault he was living with another woman and calling her late at night to tell her he was on his way home so she wouldn’t worry.

I said, “Yes, there’s something wrong with that. This whole thing is fucking stupid.”

“I’m not going to get into that right now,” he told me. And that was the end of that conversation.

Later that night I dreamed I was dead. I was in the place where dead people go. It was unclear whether it was supposed to be heaven or hell (not that I believe in either) because the only difference between my current life and being dead was that the only people in dead land were those who have died. We all looked like we were living. But we weren’t. The other thing about dead land was no one ever changed. You didn’t age. You didn’t get fatter or skinnier. You stayed just like you were when you died. Also, there was no chocolate there. I was pretty distraught that I was stuck in the current state I’m in with absolutely no hope of changing anything. Yeah, I could eat whatever I wanted and not get fatter. But there was no chocolate.

I woke up and realized I was far more disillusioned with the current state of my relationship with Mack than I was acknowledging. Dead and stuck? Not a good sign. I knew I didn’t see a future with us. I knew I didn’t want to support him. I finally acknowledged what I’d known deep down from the day I met him: I could never trust and respect a man who lied to me and Corinne the way Mack did. And I’d never be totally certain that he wasn’t using me, the way he’d used (is using) her. Dependency is not love. And I did not want a man to be with me because he couldn’t leave. I didn’t trust that Mack wanted to be with me for the right reasons. He used her, so how in the hell could I know he wasn’t using me? He lied to her, so how could I be so certain he wasn’t lying to me?

So in the end, Mack was right: my suspicions killed our relationship. But the relationship needed killing.

And in the end, Mack goes back to Corrine.

And I go back to black. But it’s more green, really. I’d forgotten how very green the grass is on my side of the fence.

Ella a/k/a unConfirmed Bachelorette

Ella a/k/a Confirmed Bachelorette (f/k/a Unconfirmed Bachelorette) is a 50-something recovered lawyer who left the practice of law to embrace a full-time writing life. Never-married, child-free Ella resides in Austin, Texas and Ontario, Canada with her four bad cats.


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