So SS and I parted ways. It has been a couple of months now. Shortly after the breakup, I wrote a post about our breakup and our last day together….
But after completing the post, I said to myself, “I can’t post this. It’s way too personal. It’s way too ego stripping…” and it was never posted. Regardless, writing through it was therapeutic. And fast forward to some time later after the dust has settled, my emotions have calmed, and some healing has been had, I can revisit my breakup story from a more rational state and feel okay posting about it. I hope it will inspire others to share their breakup stories!
“Are you sure you’re not with the FBI?” SS used to joke with me during the early days of when we were getting to know each other.
“I think you actually have a standard list of FBI questions that you ask everyone that you meet,” he’d say. His nickname for me was “Miss FBI”. My “FBI” nature stems from being overly cautious and being naturally suspicious of any guy in the beginning…because well, they are guys lol.
Months and months after daily FBI interrogation sessions, SS passed the test and was good to go. I slowly started to let my guard down and relax.
In my past relationships, breakups occurred due to issues in the relationship itself, – we grew sick of each other, they pissed me off too much, we grew apart, we weren’t compatible….whatever.
With SS, we have only shared happy moments……
One week, SS did a 180 change out of nowhere and started acting distant. He was disengaged. He was inattentive. I started to get the feels that maybe he wasn’t into *us* anymore.
But that wasn’t the case…. I addressed my concerns to SS and find out that his changed behavior was due to his world starting to crumble down. Life situations that were beyond his control were taking over and eating him away. He was beyond devastated and scared at all his life happenings. Something horrible was happening to him and he was having a difficult time dealing with it. It was starting to make him fall into depression.
This experience showed me what depression or a depressive state can do to people. He felt unrecognizable and in an element too far gone to be reached. During the time with me, he has always been a happy person, with a positive outlook on life. Now, he seemed helpless and overcome with fear.
I tried to be understanding and believed that, with time, he’d eventually get out of his slump. All I could do was pray for him and be there. Nothing I could do or say could change his situation. Doing things to cheer him up would only be temporary distractions. With space and time, he’d sort things out, I figured.
And then one night….. he said something that just changed everything….and it was the beginning of the end to *us”.
“I’m thinking of moving to northern California,” he tells me while we are having dinner and drinks at Past Memories. Apparently, by moving to northern California, he thought he’d find a better chance to rise out of his tragic downfall.
I sip on my shot of strawberry makgeoli and try to process what he had just said.
Questions start to race in my head….. so this is how we’re going to end? Where was I in all of this decision making? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
He starts to tell me how his brother up there is going to be helping him with this and that. His mind was set on doing whatever it took to find ways to fix his devastating predicament. I guess he thought his crisis would be too difficult to deal with on his own here and his brother was playing a huge role in helping him through things.
I was dumbfounded and for the remainder of the night, I remained silent. When we got back home, I wanted to drink some more. I needed more alcohol to deal with this BS. We still had less than half of a bottle left of a Cabernet that we opened a week prior.
After a few glasses, buzzed, shocked, and hurt, I blurt out, “Well, it was nice knowing you,”
“What do you mean?” asks SS.
“Well, if you’re moving away, that obviously means the end of us,” the alcohol and high emotions ran and spoke on their own.
He looked confused. “I haven’t moved yet and the decision isn’t even final,” he tells me.
“Well, if you’re considering moving away, then it’s bound to end when you do anyway. So why not just end things now?” the intoxicated emotions continued.
“Why are you smiling while you’re saying that? It seems like you’re happy about it and you were waiting for something to end the relationship,” he says. He didn’t understand that the smile wasn’t of happiness but more from being dumbfounded.
I’ve never believed in long distance relationships. I used to shake my head at people that’d be in long distance relationships. Maybe some people can find a way to make it work, but it seems that most are doomed to fail eventually (unless there are definite plans to be in the same area some day). And with SS, I know that he’s dabbled in a brief long distance mess a little before he met me. He mentioned a little about it when we first met and how he’d never do it again.
So there we were, -a couple of people that had zero faith in long distance relationships, stumped in a hopeless predicament. I figured, being that there was no way in Hell I’d ever do long distance, continuing the relationship only meant dragging on the inevitable. I couldn’t fathom the thought of going weeks without seeing the other person, the sad goodbyes, the relying solely on technology to have regular *us* times, the possible insecurities and uncertainties that might develop, the travel expenses just to see each other for a weekend and that’ll add up overtime, the making the most out of each visit mentality…. it just wouldn’t be a real or ideal relationship and were all the reasons why I’ve never believed in long distance relationships. This is how I’ve always felt about long distance relationships ever since I saw a friend of mine in a long distance relationship, back when we were in college. Sure they talk regularly and he visits every few weeks or months. But who knew what he’d be doing or thinking while they were miles and miles apart? To me, he appeared to be more of a *phone* boyfriend than a real one. And I’ve seen others be cheated on or just not able to handle the difficulties of distance and eventually come to an end.
After that night, the resentment grew as the days went by. I went from feeling sad for SS’s devastation to feeling betrayed by his decision about considering moving away. He told me that he wasn’t even thinking about breaking up until I brought it up. But he was considering moving away…..so just what the Heck did he expect to happen to us? I guess I’ll never know what he had in mind.
Our daily light-hearted conversations turned into sour discussions about me telling him how I thought that our relationship didn’t mean much to him for him to just take off and leave like that. He’d respond with explanations of how the thought of his life shit crumbling down scares him. He tells me that he valued the relationship….he was happy with the relationship….and blah blah..
As I was beginning to lash out, we had our first fight. Miss FBI came back out of MIA and was in full swing again. But talking to him was starting to feel like beating a dead horse. We went around in circles, getting nowhere. It wasn’t easy for me to understand why he couldn’t figure out a way to deal with his shit here, without moving away. He’d respond with telling me there was more to it than that. Aside from his own personal crisis, there was a secondary reason for his leaving that also involved something to do with another set of crisis that involved his entire family or whatever that he had to get involved in and couldn’t just ignore. I left his place pissed off….too pissed off to even look at him as I stormed out.
We didn’t speak for some time after that night. And during the time was when he was scheduled to visit up north to deal with things and start planning for his move.
It wasn’t until weeks later when I’d see him again…. to gather my things and have a more proper closure.
SS appeared to be somber, still depressed. He was looking like someone had just died. With his decision to move away, he was giving up so many things, – a happy relationship, a home that he’s lived in for like, 15 years, a job that he had enjoyed and thought he’d be at for a long time (possibly even retire at), and being a socali resident. I remember how he used to tell me that socali has the best weather and he can’t imagine living anywhere else. He used to say how when he retires, he wants to stay in socali but also have a second home at a place where there is not too much traffic. The congestion of LA is one of the things that SS hated about LA. Other than that, he was happy….the nice weather, easy access to good and affordable Korean food, and everything else. I just couldn’t and still don’t understand his decision to throw his entire life away and move away.
For our final meal together, I suggested we go to Langer’s… our first visit there was memorable and we talked about visiting there again some day. But since we wouldn’t be having another chance for another *some day*, we made that some day that day.
Our interaction seemed like any other day, except we both knew that we’d be parting ways afterward.
Of course, we ordered the #19 (it’s what people come here for!).
And for the second item, we ordered a corned beef sandwich. It was one of the items that we kind of wanted to try during our first visit but ended up getting something else at that time.
We ordered a side of fries. Just like last time, it came out piping.
We both snapped away before touching the food. I remember the first time I met SS. He seemed amused with my photo taking session of all the dishes before the food was to be eaten. Fast forward to now, I don’t think he touches any of the dishes before doing his own full on photo session either. Yeah, over time, he’s gotten a good dose of my foodie influence on him.
It almost feels like food was the driving force of our relationship. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it definitely was a core part of the happy memories we have shared together. Monday nights were our usual date nights. It became routinely ingrained in our schedule. We’d usually Yelp through and discuss where and what to eat days prior.
When I asked SS what he will miss about me the most, he said it’d be my enthusiasm about food and just who I am as a person. Yeah, food fulfilled a basic primitive need and played a powerful role in what we shared.
Moods didn’t turn somber until we got back home. I needed air and opened the windows. At a place that once felt relaxing and where only happy memories were created, I now felt suffocated. This was going to be it….the last time I was going to there, sitting on his couch….the spot where we had our first kiss and where we spent many evenings lounging around and watching movies or food documentaries were now just going to be happy memories of the past.
We continued to chat…..and be sad….. The sadness in his eyes pained me. He wished me all the best in life and told me that he only has happy memories with me. We talked about his crisis and all the life changes he was going to have to make because of it. I sensed the overwhelming frustration and depression in his voice.
As I got up to make my final walk out, he gave me one of those hugs that people do when they’re never going to see one another again. I collected my things and left, feeling a sense of emptiness.
I felt scammed. The time and emotions that I had invested into the relationship all felt like it was for nothing. I felt robbed and used. I started to think about how he robbed my time and emotions that could have possibly been spent on someone more deserving, someone that wasn’t going to just throw everything out the window the way he did. I felt like I wanted to sue him for robbing me of invaluable things that I could never get back and for possibly having kept me from better possibilities. Those feelings of anger would soon be replaced with feelings of sadness as time went by.
Life goes on, but unless you’re a robot or didn’t care much about the other person, it’s not the easiest thing to completely detach and never think about them again. The restaurants that SS and I frequented would remind me of him. I think the first restaurant that I visited post breakup was probably HanYang, with my dad (a couple weeks after). I had ordered nakji dolsot bibimbap that I usually got and my dad ordered some other kind of bibimbap. I was reminded of SS and his galbitang, a dish that he always ordered there.
Having heukyumsotang (black goat stew) at Mirak felt nostalgic. It wasn’t just with food. When my car was dirty, I’d remember SS nagging me to get a carwash. When stuck in heavy traffic, I thought of SS and his frustrating sighs and his talk about how he’d get a second home when he retires at a place with little traffic. When the weather changed, I missed the daily weather reports that SS would give me.
I even surprised myself when I went against my beliefs and even considered giving long distance a try. I never ever thought I’d ever be in this kind of situation. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted or would be happy with……but I didn’t entirely shut out the idea of it either. I brought it up to SS, who was now a few hundred miles away, adjusting to new surroundings, a new job, and still depressed, trying to pull out of the shithole he entered into months ago.
He pondered upon the idea too, the challenges and expectations of it and such….
In the end, he decided that the challenges would be too heavy to happily sustain the relationship. Deep down, I knew he was right. We’d both be miserable. Our wallets would be drained with travel expenses. And if things don’t work out, I’d be filled with not just emotional resentment, but money wasted because of it. Our goodbyes would be painful each time. I’d eventually feel like I’m having a relationship with my devices instead of a real person. Our visits would be like time standing still, an escape from reality moments and not living in the real. All the reasons why I’ve never been a believer of long distance relationships would become reality.
A failed relationship is only a failure if you don’t learn anything from it, right? So what lessons did I learn from this failed relationship that ended in tragedy? It reminded me that no one is immune to facing a whirlwind downfall at some time in their lives. It happens to the best of us, often unexpectedly. What matters is how we deal with things. With my next partner, I think I am going to add another critical set of questions to my “standard list of FBI questions”.
I should ask them, “What are some of the worst life crises you have faced in your lifetime and how did you handle them? If you were in a relationship at the time, how did the said crisis affect your relationship?”
In addition, I should probably also add a reverse role version, “While in a relationship, what has been one of the most tragic crises that your partner had to go through? How did that affect the relationship? What was your role in being a supportive partner?”
Yeah, I think these things are going to be quite important to find out for next time.
Yes, I am not happy with the way SS has dealt with things…….but being in the dire situation that he was in, a part of me can somewhat understand…..