Sunday, July 26, 2015

The worst breakup ever

There were signs our relationship was floundering – ignored phone calls and emails, a general lack of passion for any of my ideas or efforts, a sudden interest in a glossy new girl. The relationship just wasn't working. We had financial troubles I couldn't help conquer, and our communication had become strained. We weren't alone; other long-term relationships like ours were falling apart all around us.
But I held out hope we might make it work; that one day he'd look at me and say, 'I still need you and want to find a place for you in my life.' Then came the fatal Wednesday when he summoned me to a meeting. Alone in his office he broke the news, our long-term relationship was over: my job had been eliminated.
I got to keep the laptop (the new girl would want her own). He set me up with some extra money to help me stay on my feet. There were other things offered to soften the blow, but I was too devastated to listen carefully.  He didn't bother to thank me for the 15 years I devoted to the partnership. That hurt the most.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and went to pack some things. My few hurried goodbyes were met with tears and shocked faces.
Grabbing a box of tissue, I fled the historic institution that had been my beloved work home for more than a decade.
Like any jilted lover, I called my best friends to commiserate. They took me out for drinks. Over vodka tonics, I cried, "why me?" and "who's going to love me now?"  Friends told me I'd get over it, that I'd be better off, bounce back in no time, find someone new. He was a bad boyfriend after all. He sapped me of my youth and vitality. He gave me little in return. Plus, he was geographically undesirable – expecting me to travel four hours a day to get to him.  I felt better. The possibilities of being single again filled my imagination. I wouldn't be jobless for long. My new coworkers are going to love me even more.
Once word got out that I was dumped, advice was plentiful. I knew the best advice was don't rebound. Tempting as it was to get my online social profile updated and start looking for matches, I didn't. I need time to get over it. I didn't want to rush into something new only to have my heart broken again.
So, days stretched into weeks and then months. I did all the woman scorned things. I listened to sad music, ate candy and ice cream, watched endless hours of Netflix and HBO, met friends for lunch and drinks. I told everyone I was doing fine.
I tricked myself into thinking I was better off alone. I even tried dating a bit – accepting a few freelance assignments. And I picked up a sweet volunteer gig hoping to make new connections while sharing my skills. I traveled a bit and spent hours deep cleaning parts of my house neglected when I was in an all-consuming relationship with my work.
Well-meaning friends tried to set me up with opportunities. I half-heartedly pursued them. An inertia had set in. I feared rejection so much that I didn't put myself out there. My self-esteem plummeted and real sadness set in. I started crying daily and ruminating about what happened. What did she have that I didn't? Why couldn't I have seen it coming and made self-improvements to save the relationship? Was it my age?
As is the case in any breakup after a long-term relationship, there were people I wouldn't be seeing anymore and I missed them. I longed for the the camaraderie, the "you rock" emails for projects done, fires put out, advice given.
I even missed the short naps the moving train lulled me into during my commute. One particularly sad day I cried when I opened my closet and looked at all my work clothes and shoes.
Why was I taking this so hard? It was a business decision after all. It just wasn't meant to be. We were never going to grow old together.
Now my Severance Summer is starting to wind down. It's time to put myself out there. I've taken some baby steps. I started writing again. I'm pursuing networking in earnest. I'm making lists. I'm getting back into shape. I'm updating my LinkedIn profile.
I'm going to be ready to welcome Mr. Right Work into my life.
Wish me luck and spread the word that I'm back on the market, will you?

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