The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave

Remember the old John Belushi SNL skit, where Belushi ensconced himself in the home of Jane Curtain and Bill Murray and wouldn’t leave? It came to mind this morning in thinking about my latest email from Mack. Yes, Mack still sends me notes from time to time. For months I didn’t reply, but when he sent sympathy notes about my brother, I felt I couldn’t ignore those, and so I thanked him. Since then, I’ve been responding to his emails. In his last note, he told me he’d finish paying off his financial debt to me next month, and we can then finally go our separate ways.

My initial reaction, if only in my head:

We went our separate ways eight months ago. Or at least I did.

But then I started thinking about it. Mack’s been writing me notes since I ended things back in September. He never stopped. In early December, I stopped responding. But receiving his notes, whether I replied or not, kept him in my head. Which I’m guessing was the point. He wrote a song about me once, which included the line: “If I can’t be the love of your life, I hope I’ll still be on your mind.” And here we are, eight months after I ended the relationship, and yes, he’s still on my mind.

The last note he wrote to me, I let him get under my skin. I responded, expressing my ire. I could have kicked myself the next day for writing back. But it’s got me thinking: When at long last he stops writing to me and sending me monthly payments, will it be like a breakup all over again? Of course on a much smaller scale. But will it cause me pain?

What does it take for a goodbye to be final? What does it look like to be fully split? When there’s no longer any form of communication? When they stop getting under your skin? When you stop loving them? When you stop wanting them? When you stop wishing things could have been different? When you stop wishing they were the man you fell in love with?

When have you truly moved on?


  • I wish I had all the answers to your questions, but I can say this..One day you will notice you no longer care,worry, regret or expect from them.. It will be the day you wear the big, bold Celie (I call it that, remember her smile in The Color Purple when she got rid of Mister and drove away?) smile.. It’s right around that corner 🙂


  • You are almost there, most definitely. There will come a day where that door will open completely and you will step through it and when you look back you will feel no pain or anger, you will only smile and know you have moved on. I remember I felt overwhelming gratitude on that day, not only towards my situation but towards him as well. You’ll get there.


  • You saw how I needed to cut Patrick off completely, resolutely, I think you will need to do that as soon as Mack has finished paying you back. That way you won’t be waiting for contact, wondering. It will feel like another break up. But the continued contact keeps pulling you in. I’d send him a final message after the last payment politely saying you wish no more contact – take control that will help. Those are my thoughts.


  • Get the money, Then walk away and don’t look back – no responding to text/emails/calls. Those continue emotional chaos. Every time you respond, it’s like poking a wound – it won’t heal until you leave it alone. Tough, but done and over and you can get on with you life. – And you deserve that!


    • Smart mouse. You are right: I keep poking at the wound and it’s beginning to fester. Regardless of when the final payment comes, no more responding. I will get on with my life. I do deserve that!


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