A SWIFT KICK TO THE BALLS, AND A WAKE UP CALL

by Steve Clem on April 25, 2012


“But if you wanna leave, take good care. Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear. There’s a lot of nice things that turn bad out there.” _ Cat Stevens

What a wild world it can be, this life of dating and relationships. The hardest part after the initial ending of a relationship is finding out that your ex has found someone new. And that she is enjoying it.
It’s the emotional equivalent of having someone take over your job and do it better than you did. “Johnson, we miss you, but our productivity and profits are up since we hired two offshore employees to do your job at half the salary!”
Perhaps a better analogy is a swift and hard kick to the balls.
This weekend I had that moment. My phone began blowing up Sunday morning, with friends telling me that the Now Ex-Lady Friend® had posted a picture on Facebook of her and her new man friend.
I wasn’t prepared for this moment. Fortunately for me, I am no longer Facebook friends with the Now Ex-Lady Friend®, so I didn’t have to see this photo myself. (Of course it was only a matter of time until someone kindly sent me the picture).
Now perhaps at this point you’re like any one of my friends or family members who tell me to ignore it. To move on. To let it, and the memory of the Now Ex-Lady Friend®, go. And I agree in principle. I should not let this bother me in the least.
But principle and practice are two very different beasts. One is the theory, the other is reality, and unfortunately, my reality just couldn’t stomach seeing her smiling face, his arm around her, and her hand grabbing at his abs, pulling him closer into her.
This was the woman who just two months ago was in San Diego with me, saying goodbye.
And now she was kicking me in the nuts, though not intentionally, I’d imagine, via Facebook.
She had only posted one or two pictures of us on Facebook in the 16 months we were together. She always said she wanted to remain private about her private life.
And here the Now Ex-Lady Friend® was, proclaiming to her Facebook friends that she had found someone new. Someone better. Someone worth posting a picture of on Facebook. Someone worth proclaiming “Here is my awesome man.”
I was never that awesome man. I was never the one she bragged about to her friends for all the flowers I sent for no special occasion. I was never the one she said “I have to be with him.” I was never the one who made her think about changing her life path over. I was never “HIM.”
And after the dull ache in my stomach dissipated, I realized something else. She wasn’t “HER.”
Sure I may have thought she was the one for me. I may have thought that we’d grow old together, listening to music, laughing at inside jokes, making meals together, and making fun of one another’s silly little quirks.
But as I looked at the picture, I didn’t see “HER” anymore. I saw someone I didn’t recognize. Someone who wasn’t the woman I knew. Someone who had found a different path in life to make her happy, and was happy enough to proclaim it to the Facebook world.
And I realized that someone who could do that was either 1) not being honest with me in the first place, 2) not being honest to themselves now, or 3) both. It was my wake up call, FINALLY! It’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing that she is not “HER.” On one hand, I get sad trying to figure out if I even knew the real Now Ex-Lady Friend®. And on the other hand, I get joy knowing that at least I’ve moved on, closed that door, and am slowing beginning my journey to find “HER” all over again.
It’s a slow journey though, which is why in the interim I find dates with midgets and 80’s music lovers to pass the time. Since becoming single, I have yet to even kiss a woman good night. I’ll go slowly, and deliberately, and hopefully she will make herself known.
She’s out there. I know it. And I look forward to the day I find HER.
Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly ICON. 
(This piece originally appeared on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra)

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