Rachel Forman is a writer, improviser, sandwich-enthusiast, and all-around human. Her proudest moment was winning first place in a watermelon eating contest. Her least proud moment was accidentally sitting on a stranger in a dark movie theater. Check her out on her blog and on Twitter or Instagram.
Breakups are tough across the board, but it’s a different beast for the one who gets dumped. While the dumper tiptoed off the rug, methodically rolled it up and placed it in the hall closet, the dumpee simply had it tugged out from underneath them.
They’re hurled into a whirlwind of anger and shame and disbelief. They feel betrayed, yet still in love, which in turn makes them feel crazy. Their self-worth plummets, then rises on a good hair day, then plummets again when they see a sandwich that vaguely resembles the dumper’s face.
It’s very touch and go, and I feel for the dumpee. But I’m not talking to the dumpees; I’m talking to the dumpers. And dumpers, I’m here to tell you this:
You know that moment – that nice guy, who’s very nice, nicely asks you out on a nice date and you say yes because you want to be… nice. He’s so nice he probably just wants to take you out for a nice cage-free dinner and talk about some nice literature and have zero expectations from there because nice guys don’t have expectations – that’s why they’re the nice guys. So you go on your nice date, and he opens doors for you and that’s nice, and he pays for you and that’s nice, and he tries to kiss you and you’re like EXCUSE ME GOOD SIR. Because nice can only take you so far. And you want to rewind the clock to when the nice guy asked you out so nicely and say, “That’s very nice… but no thank you.”
We have such a hard time saying the second part of that sentence. Letting someone down easy is still letting someone down, and the people-pleaser in all of us tends to buckle under that pressure.
Now that I’m in a relationship, I thought this “nice guy dilemma” was a thing of the past. But I should’ve known better, because science taught me that at a very basic level, things are neither created nor destroyed. And so, of course, this dilemma never disappeared. It merely transmogrified and then lay in wait… until it resurfaced, undetectable, when a friend invited me to join her book club.
BOOK CLUBS, Y’ALL. THE NICE GUYS OF NON-SINGLE LIFE.
Falling in love goes a little like this:
Your head gets all loopy and your heart feels all goofy and you’re all-around nicer because the sun’s shining a little bit brighter and you get why babies are cute and MANDY? WHO THE FUCK IS MANDY? OH SOME GIRL YOU MADE OUT WITH ONCE IN COLLEGE BUT YOU’RE JUST FRIENDS NOW? THAT’S COOL. I’M FINE. WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING IF I’M FINE? I’M OBVIOUSLY FINE. I HATE YOU. I HATE MANDY. LOVE ME? I’M FINE.
Romantic, right?! Everything’s all cheese platters and puppy parties and then out of no where that realization hits you like a dagger: there were others before me, and I care. It’s weirdly easier in the beginning. This guy likes you. You’re chill girl. You can’t be bothered – you suffocate that little creature in your chest called insecurity and swap dating stories like Pokémon cards. But at some point, the tide changes.
As someone who’s been dumped more times than the Doritos Locos Taco in toilets across America, my expertise in the realm of post-break-up remedies can and should be trusted. First and foremost: you don’t need a boyfriend because you have television. Here are my top picks for shows to ease the heartache:
This gem on TLC follows individuals with unusual compulsions like sniffing gasoline or eating drywall. Sounds fun, right?! RIGHT! This is the reason we watch T.V. after a break-up—to feel better about our shitty lives by comparison to other people’s even shittier lives! You have to go to your sister’s wedding solo now? Well this chick just ate 17 dryer sheets! Your bed feels like a vast ocean of despair as you lay alone in it wondering where it all went wrong? At least you’re not in love with fifty thousand balloons! (Season 4, Episode 7. I could not make that up.)
The cool thing about being a packrat and a procrastinator is that I get to scrapbook two years worth of nostalgia-ridden post-its and ticket stubs and holiday cards all at once. It really puts things into perspective.
Call me what you will—a sadist, or a purist—but I’m a firm believer in preserving not just the past we want to remember, but the past that actually happened—the one that shaped us in ways drastic and mundane. The one that, let’s be real, sucked. That’s why in my scrapbook, next to friend’s birth announcements and drawings from the kids I nanny, I also have a Moonrise Kingdom postcard I picked up from the theater that night that boy I was dating took me out and kissed me in his car and then never spoke to me again until we bumped into each at the supermarket a year later and pretended not to know each other’s names. I have that CD I got signed the night I met one of my idols and discovered he was a total dick. I have ticket stubs from The Great Gatsby, which, honestly guys, just didn’t really do it for me. And I keep all these things, the less-than-favorable memories, because, and I mean this with all my heart: WE’VE GOT TO STOP UNFRIENDING OUR PAST.
Nick had a pinky ring. That was probably the 7th of too many warning signs. But he had a pinky ring and he liked it and he would clink it against his glass and I hated it. I don’t think it was until tonight that I realized Nick actually liked his pinky ring. He wore it proudly, no hipster irony. Just some dickhead who sincerely thought he looked cool. Which would be cute. If he wasn’t a dickhead and if it wasn’t a pinky ring.
Nick and I had been hanging out for about 2 months. We dabbled in dating, had really bad sex once and sort of okay sex again then he went to Mexico for a week and then I went to Vegas and then I got sick and then tonight he invited me out for what would be our first hang in 3 weeks.
I’ve already fast-forwarded to the part where you find out he has a pinky ring, so saying anything to bolster his case is pointless now. But I will say Nick’s good. He’s not a bully. He doesn’t know how to dress himself and he took me on dates. He made me tea and complimented my bra and took me to a weird wrestling match once that would’ve been awful had I not found him terribly cute. But he’s also a dumb idiot who doesn’t understand people things.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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