Time flies. And it seems to fly faster the older we get. Remember being a kid and the days just dragging by? Unless, of course, you were waiting for the bell to ring at 3p on the last day of school before summer vacation started! And the truth is, time flies, whether or not you are having fun. Well, according to the calendar, it has been a year since my boyfriend of almost 2 years broke up with me and, more or less, broke my heart. As my heart, and all the rest of me, was still recovering from my encounter with cockroach boy, it was particularly difficult to deal with. What was very clear to me, almost immediately, was that he had, in fact, done the right thing. Oh, it’s not that I wanted to be alone. Actually, I hated it, and, truth be told, still do. What was right about it was I would have eventually broken up with him. It probably would have taken me years to realize this because we really did have a great relationship in a lot of ways. Was it perfect? No, but it certainly was perfect for me, and I suspect, for him, right up until it wasn’t anymore. Because of all the intense therapy I had done, and all of the crap from my past that had been dealt with during that therapy, I had grown. A lot! So much, in fact, that I had outgrown him. I truly was no longer the person I had been when we first met. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s not. Do I wish this ‘change’ had never occurred? A part of me does. A larger part knows, though, that it was necessary for me to experience and go through what I did to move me along my path.
We were only six months into the relationship when my sexual assault happened. At the time, I asked him, “Does this mean you aren’t going to like me anymore?” He told me, “No. You are precious to me.” And I believed him, and that belief allowed me to focus on myself and my healing. No one, least of all me, knew exactly how long that would take. I probably thought it would take a few weeks or, maybe, a couple of months. It never occurred to me that it would take as long as it did. I went to therapy, every Monday, week after week after week, for 13 months, and I hated every minute of it, though I loved my therapist. It was incredibly hard and physically painful for lot of it. Through it all, though, I had this amazing, loving, supportive, incredibly encouraging boyfriend. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would have been had I not been in this relationship.
When I inquired it he thought the breakup was a delayed reaction to my attack, he said, “No. Yes. I don’t know. All I do know is I’m exhausted from having to deal with it.” Okay. Well, so was I. Still am. Because I am still dealing with it. Certainly not in the same ways, but the effects are ever-present. There are certain books I cannot read and movies I cannot see. Although I am not afraid of it, I do not really walk in the dark anymore. When a stranger approaches me, especially at night, I wonder if he is going to attack me. When I get sick, yet again, I curse cockroach boy for the trauma my body has suffered and continues to suffer. I live with the thought, in the back of my mind, that one day in the not-too-distant-future, he will get out of prison, and though I do not believe he will come after me, who knows what he’ll do? I certainly never expected to be attacked in the first place. One of the things I do tell myself, and something that allows me to carry on from day-to-day, is because it happened once, there is just no way it could happen again. Don’t know if this is actually true, but I HAVE to tell myself this or I’m not sure I could go on. It feels like all of these things are a part of my being now. Will they fade in time? Will they go completely away? I have no idea. I hope so.
What I was then, and will continue to be is grateful to my ex for sticking around the way he did. I know it made all the difference in the world to have him stand beside me, to not walk away. It wasn’t easy for him, and even though I knew it, at least to a degree, I wish I had been more aware of how it was effecting him. Would that have made a difference in the end? No way to know. All I am really certain of is he was/is a good man, and I miss him. Still.