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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

the “not quite a break up” break up

The past eight years or so are littered with the not-quite-break-ups from not-exactly-relationships that didn’t-totally-happen.

I can’t complain that I’ve suffered a brutal, heartbreaking, break up after some fantastic romantic affair. Not since John Boyd my sophomore year of High School anyway. I do, however, consistently put my emotional energy into attempting a relationship that never comes to fruition. I’ve shortened the investment period and upped the honesty, trying to avoid the not-quite-break-up. Trying to carefully read all the emails and deconstruct all of the phone calls and line them up next to the advice columns from Cosmo and Glamour. Then I compare–am I fooling myself? is this going somewhere? what does he mean? how much energy have I lost this time? how much time?

This time I lost eight months, really only four months, but kind of eight. Although during the first four months I was actively not-pursuing the relationship, so I guess I’ve just lost 4 months. Which is better than two years and much better than eight years. I suppose I’m learning something every time I have an almost-relationship. I consider is a conditioning program–like top athletes or musicians. I am a girlfriend-in-training, still wearing the track suit and waiting to change into the little black dress for the free-skate.

Not a great comparison, is it? But I’ve gotten pretty good at honesty, I give incredible thoughtful “A-list” gifts (like Jason Mathes and I always compared notes on), I can cook approximately 3.4 impressive meals, I write fantastic letters, and I can drive a car with manual transmission. The top skill I still need to work on: eating in front of a date. I actually did that once in Colorado. Jeff and I went out right before we both left town. We went to Ken and Sue’s East–had appetizers, I had the steak, we split the molten chocalate cake. The waitress came up and said, “First date, huh?” It was fantastic, but only possible because there was zero chance of a committment. He is married now and living in Colorado.

The most amazing thing was, in the first four months of active non-pursuit of this latest non-relationship–was that I found myself finally over all the previous non-relationship guys. I was sort-of over them all, but I got truly over them. I was able to say an honest congratulations to wedding announcements, birth announcements, graduation announcements, and house-warmings. My heart no longer leaps out of my chest when I see that he has written me an email and it is over 5k. I see his name and think, “well isn’t that fantastic, he’s written, I wonder how he is? I wonder how his wife is?” Not that they are all married now, but most are. Even Conan O’Brien and Wierd Al Yankovic are married–this is my luck. (On a side note, Scott Derenger is opening for Wierd Al in March–HOORAY!)

And I am in my last month in London–so I should have at least one date in me where I act like a “normal girl on a date.”

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