Longer apart than together

I think I’ve recently thought about how I should post here again. I wasn’t aware until a few days ago that I apparently haven’t written here since late April, or nearly 2 months ago. While I could probably write about the last couple months (spoiler alert: not much has happened in my life), instead I’m going to write about ancient history!

I’m joking. This entry, specifically, I’m going to try to keep somewhat focused on my ex-girlfriend. While I could probably spill lots of ink on this topic, suffice it to say that, as of mid-March of this year, we have officially been apart longer than we were together. To put a number on it, we were together for 2 years, 3 months, and 4 days. Considering there were a couple breaks, one could probably quibble about the exact numbers, but anyway, we “defined the relationship” in mid-September 2015 and were together until mid-December 2017. She wanted to get engaged and married, I did not, and after quite a bit of conflict and toxicity and receiving an ultimatum to either propose or break up, I said (paraphrase) “Fine, we can break up” and that was that. It was the first relationship for both of us.

When I originally started writing this entry a few days ago, I wrote… a lot. Most of which I decided I probably didn’t need to post here, so I decided to whittle it down from “the last few years of occasional interaction since we broke up”, which I started writing about when I originally started writing this post even as I thought recounting all that seemed silly.

Let’s see, where to begin… A few weeks after we broke up, my ex started dating a new guy (the ex-husband of one of her coworkers). I suspect that if she hadn’t rebounded with her now-fiancee, she might have asked me about getting back together again, or at least been more interested in talking to me.

After I got a new phone and number in March 2019 (after having the same phone for 4 years and the same number for 13), I didn’t give her my new number and our occasional interaction went from text messages to e-mails. We exchanged a few e-mails in late March and early April 2019, and then a few e-mails in September 2019. Both of those exchanges were initiated by me, and ended after I failed to reply to her last message. I don’t remember exactly and am not going to bother looking at the exchanges again, but I think both times I decided I didn’t have much to say in reply to what she had said and the conversation could end.

She graduated with her bachelor’s degree last May and returned to the city where she had been living with her mother. In an email last spring she mentioned moving in with her boyfriend, so I presume she did that last summer.

(About a month after the last e-mail in September, she e-mailed me that she had heard her sister had got a weird friend request a few days after I accidentally sent her sister a Facebook friend request, which I had immediately deleted. About a week later, I replied and told her that it had been an accident and hoped she was well.)

Most of our interaction since breaking up has, perhaps predictably, been initiated by me. She has had a boyfriend, I’ve been single since we broke up, and as she said in a spring 2019 email, he doesn’t like when she talks to me. I remember her trying to make me jealous when we were dating, and for that matter when she was telling me about her now-fiancee shortly after they got together, so I have long presumed that, at some point, she mentioned me to try making him jealous. Overall, a general theme (at least from my perspective) has been that she hasn’t been very interested in talking to me, while, frankly, I have felt lonely at times since we broke up. I don’t think loneliness has been as much a problem this year (which seems funny considering I had that realization early this year shortly before the COVID-19 epidemic began to affect the US), at least.

Anyway, in both the spring and fall 2019 e-mail exchanges she mentioned her future plans, including moving in with her boyfriend and trying to get pregnant during the summer of 2019. In fall 2019, she mentioned that she was engaged (which, to me, meant that he probably proposed sometime during the summer of 2019) and that she was planning to get married in April of this year and honeymoon in July before starting a family.

Based on the way this year has gone, I had a feeling she had to change her plans. I’ve read a few articles about couples having to adjust their wedding plans due to the pandemic, so I figured that my ex and her fiancee also had to change their plans. I did send her an email in late February, but I didn’t expect (or receive) a reply, and I felt like that drew a line under it and didn’t really expect to hear from her again.

She emailed me several weeks ago in late May, 7 months or so since our last communication. I was surprised to get anything from her, considering that since we broke up she’s mostly seemed uninterested in talking to me, but she asked how I’ve been. I replied that I was working less, but that was fine, and asked how she was, and she proceeded to tell me she was good, and her recent big news, which included buying a house the previous week and that she is pregnant. She mentioned having to postpone the wedding to next year “due to the virus”, but otherwise she hadn’t been affected. I replied with “Congratulations!” and mentioned that I had read some articles about people having to change their plans and wondering how it had affected her plans.

I haven’t heard from her since, and that was 28 days ago. I’ve wondered why she contacted me in the first place- I know I’ve read about it being common for people to talk to their exes or for their exes to reach out due to everyone being lonely during quarantine and lockdowns, but our state barely shut down, and that ended in early May. Other than the recent news she had shared, I don’t know why she would have contacted me in late May as opposed to, say, April when our state was actually under whatever state order. I suppose it’s possible that she was just curious about what I’ve been up to, though I’ve also wondered if trying to make me jealous might be a motivation (as in, “look what I’ve got, and what we could have had if you hadn’t broke up with me”) or, as I eventually thought of after a friend mentioned it, maybe she was just insecure about something and decided to reach out to me for emotional validation. Who knows, maybe it was a mix of all three. I suspect only she knows the answer, and somehow I doubt she’d tell me if I asked!

I had a dream one day recently that included maternity pictures featuring my ex and her fiancee, which was odd, though I know I’ve been thinking about her more since she emailed me a few weeks ago than I had been before she emailed me.

Fortunately, for whatever reason I feel like the proverbial storm of thinking about her so much has passed, at least for now. From a practical standpoint, it’s probably pointless to think about her (if nothing else, she’s engaged, so it’d be extremely awkward to say the least to try winning her back since I doubt she’d be interested in dumping her fiancee and getting back together with me now), as my family might say I should be looking forward not backward (yeah, lots of opportunities for future romantic relationships in a pandemic, I’m sure), and I’m going soon from the city where I’ve been living and working and attending college for the past seven years. In about a month I’ll be moving out of the apartment I moved into about the time that we began our relationship (as opposed to the first few weeks we were dating, before we had formally defined the relationship). The last few weeks, while thinking about her, I’ve wondered if I should email her again, if only to provide more of an update about what I’m up to and my near-future plans, but at the same time that seems silly (or perhaps misguided or ridiculous). We have no particular reason to stay in contact, and if nothing else it would provide her the emotional validation that I’m still thinking about her, as opposed to forgetting she existed since, as the title of this entry states, we have now been apart longer than we were together.

I have also wondered if she’ll email me again in 6 or 7 months, and I can expect occasional contact that will continue this pattern for the foreseeable future, or if that’s a ridiculous idea. I know I’ve heard my mom say that she’s friendly with one of her ex-boyfriends but not friends, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happened with my ex and me. While we might exchange occasional emails and updates (circa 2026, she might be able to say something like “How are you? I’m fine, my kid started kindergarten and I got a promotion at work”), exchanging emails every six months or so (or expecting this pattern to continue) also seems ridiculous. In late 2018 and early 2019 (basically, until I got my new phone), the pattern was that she would text me every few weeks to ask for a favor and then, once it was done, not contact me again for a while. Since there’s no particular reason for her to contact me (as opposed to my being the only person with a car that she knows within 200 miles), I wonder if she’ll email me again at some point and I can update her then (“Oh, by the way, no longer living in the city where we used to date as of 5 months ago”), or if she’ll never email me again.

Much like some of the various questions I’ve thought of surrounding her current relationship or her life before meeting me, I don’t expect I’ll get an answer. At least, the final answer to the question of whether she’ll contact me again may have to wait until one of us dies, which is hopefully several decades in the future.

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