Someone, one of the two people in a relationship, always wants to be friends when it’s over. It’s usually the person who did the dumping. Therefore, it was usually me.
I didn’t set out to be a heartbreaker. My first “breakup” was really more of a non-breakup. Joe went to college, I stopped calling and writing letters, he slept with some girl, and we never got back together. It didn’t really hurt my feelings, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t wallowing in self-pity while he was banging what’s-her-name.
I wouldn’t have minded staying friends with Joe. He wanted to stay friends with the possibility of benefits. I flatly turned him down and we never spoke to each other again.
I definitely dumped Shane, although he brought it up first, so it was kind of me being a weenie about dumping him. Honestly, the whole long-distance Internet boyfriend thing was cramping my style a little. I did really want to stay friends with him, but when you rip out someone’s heart and stomp on it (intentionally or not), they sometimes don’t want to keep emailing you regularly. This mystified me for many years.
Shane and I spoke to each other once a few years later. He told me he’d never really loved me anyway and so, in that case, our break-up really hadn’t been that big of a deal and I was forgiven. I didn’t feel much like keeping in touch after that, either. I guess if I’d been a friendly ex, I would have been happy that he’d managed to cobble back together the pieces of his broken heart, but instead I was just pissed.
I dumped Luke, too. Poor Luke. A few months after I dumped him, an acquaintance of his asked me about him, and I told him we broke up.
“Dude,” the friend said, looking almost as heartbroken as Luke had when I’d done the deed. “That must have torn him out of the frame.”
Guilt: I haz it.
Apparently, this you-dumped-me-and-now-I-hate-you thing has no statute of limitations either. At age 29, a good ten years after we broke up, Luke came back to town for a visit. He invited all his old friends out to meet him for drinks via Facebook—I mean, pretty much all his old friends, even the ones he never talked to in high school, but then friended on Facebook years later. All his old friends except for me—the girl who was his best friend forever before we dated, and who was exclusively with him for three years. Yeah, he didn’t invite me.
I almost unfriended him on Facebook for that.