Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Self-Destruction at its Best

This is one of those posts I thought about not writing. For a couple of reasons.

First, I have to admit to some poor behavior (which isn’t new, or even infrequent, but still it’s hard each time). And I have to share details, specific details, about someone else’s life in order to tell my story. And each time I do that feels like a betrayal. Like I’m telling other people’s secrets (even though I don’t name names).

But it’s been on my mind for over 10 days now, so I guess that means I’m supposed to write about it.

It was Labor Day weekend and I got together with a friend for some fun and frolic. Read=. Note: I really do have a better sex life than one might imagine by reading this . It’s weird, I write a called ‘Sex, Lies and Dating in the City’, but usually don’t write about my actual sex life. Very weird.

Anyway, he’d been out of town for a while, dealing with family stuff. His passed away not too long ago, so I asked him how he was doing. And he said he was doing well. And then he said some nice things about his and how peaceful her passing was and how relatively easy it was to settle her affairs and deal with his family issues.

I could feel the tears well up in my eyes as he spoke, but I didn’t cry. Not until after I was alone.  Then I balled my eyes out. You see, it was just a day away from the anniversary of my mom’s death.  And her passing was not peaceful.  And while nothing about my family life had ever been easy, it’s gotten more complicated since she’s been gone.

So I cried, alone in my apartment, for a while.  A long while.  And then I got mad.  It was a beautiful day and I’d just had some pretty awesome sex and I was alone in my apartment crying.  And angry.  And feeling incredibly self-destructive.

I guess I should note here that I have a self-destructive streak that’s a mile wide. And that, I’ve pretty much tamed it in the past decade. I no longer drink to excess.  Nowadays it’s rare for me to have more than 5 drinks a month (instead of my old 5 drinks a night). And I’ve never been a smoker. Or into unprescribed drugs (I’ve always been afraid of how they mix with my prescriptions). So my self-destructive impulses tend to drive me to eat really inappropriate things.  Which isn’t that big of a deal.

But there are some kinds of crazy that can’t be tamed with cold pizza and M&Ms.  I needed to lash out at someone. Preferably myself.  Please don’t ask why. That’s a rational question for an irrational situation.

So, after blocking his emails and ignoring his texts and comments (he’d left a couple of comments here on the blog that got sent straight to spam, as I have him categorized as spam) for the past 6 months, I reached out to M. To yell at him.  Because it was, somehow, his fault that I was feeling lonely, sad and despondent.

And he gave me the same story I’ve heard before. Too many times.   He’s sorry he disappointed me.  But he never meant to hurt me. And he’s completely changed, now. Blah blah blah.  And then it hit me, I had a crystal clear moment and I wrote to him:

Do you know who you are?  You’re the guy who didn’t pick up the phone the night my mom died. And then you didn’t return the call, for days.  So you can pretend you’ve changed. Who knows, maybe you have. But you’re always going to be the guy who didn’t pick up the phone the night my mom died.  You were never there when I needed you (even after you said you would be, over and over).

Or something like that.

There are no happy thoughts left.  No wanting him to hold me.  No wishing for a time machine, for a chance to get it right. Just the ultimate act of nonsupport.  Of saying, “you don’t matter that much to me”.   I was in love with a man who couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone the night my mother died.  And now, for the past 10 days, I keep saying that to myself, over and over. Like a fucked up mantra.  Maybe if I say it enough times I’ll keep if from ever happening again.

I’m not sure what any of this says about my mental stability, the stages of grief or anything else.  It’s complicated, I guess.


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24 to “Self-Destruction at its Best”


  1. I don’t quite get what was self destructive here. Grief is a fucked up process. Of course you got triggered by your fwb’s story and of course it undermined your enjoyment.
    I don’t know you well enough to write about your mental stability. And as someone who had a pretty good panic attack last night I’m not particularly qualified. But it seems to me that you can go a bit easier on yourself about it.

    But you do have to let M go entirely. Entirely.

    • Simone Grant says:

      :-) the self-destruction was reconnecting with M. I was absolutely the most painful, hurtful, fucked up thing I could do to myself. Like picking an almost healed scab (which is something else I’ve done a lot of, lately).

      Batshit crazy I know. No excuses.

      • snarkygurl says:

        “the self-destruction was reconnecting with M. I was absolutely the most painful, hurtful, fucked up thing I could do to myself. Like picking an almost healed scab (which is something else I’ve done a lot of, lately).”

        I think the point here is that it was still a scab and not healed, it was still bothering you and hurting you and still… there. Now that you’ve finally figured it out in a way that makes sense to you, the right way for you, it can actually heal. And like any wound, it may leave a scar, and you may look at it once in a while and remember it, but it WILL be healed. And now you can move on.

        You can do it.

        • Simone Grant says:

          Thanks darling (and I apologize for the very late reply. You’re right, it will leave a scar but it will heal. And I CAN do it.

          And, in time, scars fade.

  2. Sandyvs says:

    WOW, Simone, that is really profound, that you came to the right conclusion about M: He is not to be depended on. Or that you can depend on him to NOT be there for you. I hope you feel liberated now that you have put him in that category.
    I have many friends, men and women that I know, 1, they will always be there for me, no matter what or 2, not to even bother telling them stuff because they really don’t give a crap. Once I accepted those facts about my family and friends, it was easier to just enjoy what we have, instead of expecting/wanting what was just not going to be there.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I knew this about M a long time ago. Knew it, but didn’t KNOW it.
      As for the other people in my life, I honestly don’t have the time for people I can’t count on. It means the circle of people I surround myself with is small, but that’s OK.

  3. Alexia says:

    “You’re the guy who didn’t pick up the phone the night my mom died. And then you didn’t return the call, for days. So you can pretend you’ve changed. Who knows, maybe you have. But you’re always going to be the guy who didn’t pick up the phone the night my mom died.”

    Nailed it.

    Hope your day/ night got better after this.

  4. Catherine says:

    Wow. I’m sorry you had to go through with this and I’m sorry he let you down in such a way. I’m glad he is no longer in your life, you deserve so much better. But I understand your anger – it gets the best of everyone sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up. You are such a strong woman!! Take care of yourself.

    I too, am prone to destructive eating, btw… haha :)

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’m glad he’s no longer in my life, too. And, well, I didn’t “have to” go through that. I chose it.
      The reality is, it took me a long time to learn that it doesn’t really matter what a guy says. And that sometimes the smartest thing to do is just walk away. Not every relationship can be saved.

  5. I’m sure this was a katharsis for you, so it’s good you got it out there. We all process things at our own pace, and for many of us, things lie dormant for so long. Then we snap! We don’t even know why. It’s important to forgive. I’ll never forget, I was 26, and my aunt called me up to tell me that I needed to break up with my girlfriend, the love of my life. She read a letter to me that her father’s friend had written to him when her mother has passed away. He said, my dear friend, it may not feel like it, but with time things will get easier. Its never goes away, but it gets easier. She told me I need to break up with her, and forgive her for what she did. With time it will get easier. I listened to her, but I didn’t forgive her for 5 years. Only when I allowed myself to forgive did I realise that it was more important for my own sanity to forgive her, than it was for me actually telling her for her. I was free.

    Your thoughts are only destructive if you allow them to be. Don’t hold on to the anger, but be angry if you feel you need to be, and then let it go. Forgive, as in doing so, you will allow yourself to move forward. This will open up space for something beautiful to arrive at your door.

    For every door that closes, two open.

    • Simone Grant says:

      This is a door I’ve been trying (ineffectively, with piecemeal efforts) to slam shut for a long while. I firmly believe that it’s closed now. Whether or now 2 doors will now open…well, I’m not counting on it but it would be nice.

  6. SoloAt30 says:

    I’m sorry M. let you down in such a huge time of need. I do think you needed this moment to reach out to him and let him know how much that hurt and disappointed you. It doesn’t matter where he is in his life now, your anger was pointed at that time and is now released. I think there can be healing from that.

    There are far more destructive things you could have done to yourself, as you’ve pointed out. I think you’re doing just fine. Keep letting into your life the loving, positive people and holding them close when you need to. Big hugs.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks honey. A good friend of mine keeps reminding me that he’s there for me. As are other friends. And I’m just going to have to remember to reach out to them, instead of reaching out for another bag of m&ms.

  7. Jocelyn says:

    *sigh*
    Your post sounded almost like something I would say. Currently, I have a friend that is to me a bit of what M is/was to you. I don’t know, when i’ll walk away. Thank you for having such candid posts.

    • Simone Grant says:

      My pleasure. I always hope, when I write this stuff, that there are people who can see themselves in it. Otherwise, there’s no way I would do it.

      The reality is, people do all kinds of silly self-defeating things. You’ll do what’s right for you, in the end.

  8. City Girl says:

    So happy that I finally moved from our Twitter “friendship” to actually checking out your blog. I added your blog to my Reader.

    I went back to the ex who wasn’t there for me after my Mom died. It took me a while, but I know better now. I’m sure it’s not an easy mantra for you to repeat, but kudos to you for doing so.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you so much (and I’ve been a fan of your site for a while now).

      It’s amazing how we can overlook these huge betrayals from the people we care about. Selective amnesia or something. But it’s important for us to remember. And to remember that we deserve so much better.

  9. I don’t really know what to say except that I’m really glad you wrote about it. That’s a really tough situation to come through and an even tougher realization (or re-realization) to come to about M but as shitty as it is now and picking at that old wound…you may just finally have that thing now…that thought that’ll keep you from going back…that’ll keep you from wanting to go back.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you. And yes, this is pretty much it. The key. There is no story big enough, no desire strong enough to make this go away. And for that, I guess, I’m grateful.

  10. Random Thought:

    The hard thing about hurtful men/people from the past is when time passes the good things are all we can remember. This often leads us to let them in again and then they quickly remind us of the bad things we conveniently forgot.

    Sometimes I feel like I’ve really purged a hurtful person when the horrible things come to mind first.

    xoxo

    • Simone Grant says:

      That’s so very true. It’s easy to remember the good stuff. And to rationalize the bad stuff. To make excuses for the bad. Lord knows I’ve done enough of it for a lifetime.

  11. Julia says:

    I can totally relate … I used to use a similar mantra about my ex-husband.
    “He is extinct; just like the dinosaurs.” Over and over and over again.
    Learned it from my dad, who used the same mantra in regards to his ex-wife. It’s easier to say than it is to actually believe … but for a while, I think it might actually work!