Sometimes I Have to be the Bad Guy – and I’ll Learn to Live With It

Being a woman… getting older… finding out who you are… it’s all part of a journey that is probably never really complete (I’ll let you know in 50 years or so if I still feel the same way). I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching this past year. I’ve made a conscious effort to find places for self-improvement, and tonight I’ve found another one.

I tend to take on the role of the “responsible adult” in my family. (If you’ve been reading for a while, you know this already.) I’ve been parenting my parents nearly as long as I can remember, and now that my Dad has passed away and my brother has reached the peak of his “stupid” phase, I find myself wanting to parent him too. But I’m not his parent, and he is an adult now (albeit, barely).

My responsibilities lie in taking care of myself, my Dad’s two dogs (which now reside with me) and my future children. I have to make my decisions for their best interest, as I am their primary caregiver. It is (and will be) my job to ensure they are kept safe and healthy, so if my brother tells me to “go fuck myself” after I’ve refused to let him take the dog camping in the middle of the night with a group of his rowdy 19 year old friends, then I’ll have to be okay with that.

I consider this practice for when I have finally adopted. I will learn to trust my judgement, and not feel guilty or sorry for my decisions.

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Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

Most of my friends will assume it was The Italian’s workaholic nature that did us in, but it wasn’t. Not in the end.

A few weeks ago I went on my annual road trip to Vancouver Island to visit my best friend. She asked me why he didn’t come, and I replied that I hadn’t asked him, and that he wouldn’t have taken a week off of work anyway. She noted that I’ve never had a boyfriend accompany me on that trip before, and that when I finally do, she would declare him “the one”. We didn’t talk much about The Italian aside from that, but he was in the back of my mind the entire trip. His work hours had started getting carried away again, and he knew he wasn’t making me happy. He had stated as much a few weeks before I left, so it was no surprise that we had both started putting some distance between us. I was trying to figure out where my “line” would be… how much I could compromise our time together.

Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable. ~ Author Unknown

Meanwhile, aside from the nightmares that accompanied my forgetting to take my anxiety medication for a few days, I was enjoying my trip thoroughly. For the first time, I took one of my dogs, Sadie. We went for long walks through the woods, and she swam in the river and in the ocean, while M took some incredible photos. I spent a lot of time reading books about child abuse, and about attachment and adoption. I played games. I prepared dinner for my best friend, her boyfriend, and his brother and sister in law. We sat around the table grilling chicken and peppers and having “lemon meringue” drinks, and after a few too many, we confessed what we liked and appreciated about each other. I went out and did some target practice with the boys while my best friend was at work one day during the week. There was so much fun to be had.

A couple of days before the end of my trip, I was sitting around an evening camp fire in the back yard with M and her boyfriend, laughing and talking. Andy had been texting me during my entire trip, asking what I was up to and making sure I was enjoying myself, and this night was no exception. I found myself wishing that he was there. I was thinking about how well he would fit in amongst my friends, how he’d love to sit around the camp fire, watch movies and shoot some clay pidgins with us. I realized that I could see him sitting around that dinner table, grilling up a storm and having drunken sentimental conversations with my friends…

…and then I realized that I couldn’t see The Italian in any of those scenarios. Not a single one. I can picture us married, living together, even having children, but outside those walls, I just didn’t see where he would fit into my life. The Italian isn’t the kind of guy to kick back around a camp fire with a beer, or go out wind surfing with the guys. He’s an amazing man, I just realized he wasn’t the right man.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop. ~ Author Unknown

It made me sad to think that we weren’t meant to be together, but it had become very clear in my head. It was fact, there was no wishy-washy thought process… once I realized that I couldn’t picture him with me when I was doing the things I loved, I knew it was over. I broke up with him the morning I left the island to come home.

The Italian didn’t handle the break-up well. He was hurt, but I know that he knew it was coming. After a few days we touched base again and it was better that time. He doesn’t hate me, but he doesn’t want to remain friends. I can understand that, I never wanted to be friends with anyone who broke up with me before, either. My heart hurts when I think about how much we cared for each other. It’s proof that love really isn’t enough. You can adore someone like we did, but you can’t change them, you can’t mold them into who you want them to be, and at some point accepting that they would be happier without you is all that you can do.

Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

I am sad sometimes, I grieve for our friendship and for the sweet intimate moments we shared, but for the most part I don’t miss him. I guess that comes from not being able to see him very much anyway. I missed him so much in the weeks before we broke up, that I had forgotten what it was like to be with him. A blessing in disguise, I suppose.

I guess I’m just glad I got to be the girl who was worth that damn expensive coffee, for a while.

Our story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And although this is the way all stories unfold, I still can’t believe that ours didn’t go on forever. ~Nicolas Sparks