I know I said I was going to write about other things today, but I have something much more interesting to talk about.

I found my ex-boyfriend's blog last night.*

I haven't talked to him in almost ten years. And yet I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought of him pretty regularly since. Not because I loved him. But, because he didn't love me.

This is a boy who turned me inside out.

A boy who held me captive with his abuse. Even more so, by his promises to love me.

To have his attention was like having the sun warm your face. Guys wanted to be his friend. Girls wanted to be his lover. Everyone wanted his acceptance. Being on his arm made you proud.

He had money. He had beauty. He had women. He had friends. He had it all. He was going somewhere and you wanted to come.

This boy told me I was beautiful. I felt beautiful.

This boy told me I was smart. I felt smart.

This boy told me I was loveable. I knew it must be true.

But, when the boy would leave he would take the warmth with him. You were left cold inside, empty, wondering. He would give you just enough to keep you hanging on for more. But, he always took more than he gave. Always.

He dangled his love in front of you like an unattainable reward.

It wasn't what this boy was that addicted me. It was what he was not. He was broken. I wanted to fix him. I needed to fix him. Leaving wasn't an option. I would try. My God, I would try. I would gasp for breath from his suffocation. And yet he kept pulling me back under. Like a drowning man.

I was too healthy for him. I was too kind. Too feeling. Too giving. Too pure. It took me years to figure out that he wanted to break me; that his deeply flawed character prevented him from reacting to me in any other way.

I eventually freed myself from him, but the pain of his rejection remained. For nearly a decade I wondered why this boy's memory - his words - still had the power to hurt me, the wounds as fresh as yesterday.

I wondered what it was about this boy that compelled me so many years ago - a beautiful young girl with every option - to willingly sacrifice herself at the alter of his acceptance.

Last night I figured out why.

Last night I saw his picture.

Last night I read his words.

My stomach dropped. Him. It was him.

I read about his life now. I looked through pictures of his family. And yet I felt ...nothing.

Absolutely. Nothing.

How can that be? I thought. I was stunned.

I have thought of this boy countless times over the last decade, the memory of him a dull ache in my heart. How can I feel nothing for him? No desire to reconnect? No desire to say hello? No desire to flaunt my happy marriage and beautiful child?

I have carried the scars his words created for nearly a decade. And yet, I looked at his face and saw just a boy. A boy who probably doesn't even remember me. A boy whose life is pathetically unchanged from the way it was when I left him a decade ago.

I saw a stranger.

It was then that I realized it had never been about this boy.

Last night I realized what it has taken me nearly a decade to figure out: this boy represented my father.

*No, I'm not going to link him. Because I really do not want him to find me.


Amy said...

It's really awesome that you were able to make that connection. It should help you clear his cobwebs from your mind.

I wonder if any of my ex-boyfriends have a blog. Probably not because that would require knowing how to spell. And read.

I have made the father-connection before, but not with anyone I've ever dated. I have always been standoffish when it came to my father-in-law, even though I really, really, really wanted him to like me. I was looking at some pictures I took from a recent stint of playing 'Family Photographer'... my father-in-law bears a striking resemblance to my father in one of those pictures. Then I got it. Now I don't feel like I have to be quite so guarded around him.

jenna said...

interesting that you refer to him as a "boy"...because that's all he could be emotionally to you.

kudos for seeing the light, and realizing your self-worth in the world! you go, girl!

Lena said...

Amy - Um, maybe just POSSIBLY that's also why I don't want to link him?

Can you say SPELLCHECK? Seriously.

Karen Rani said...

This recently happened to me though he found me, on FB. That frigging FB - now my life is the one that's an open book. He probably looks at me and is thankful he didn't marry my crazy ass. LOL!
(that feeling is mutual - he was a control freak)

Kimberly said...

Wow...that would totally blow my mind as well. I went to acting school after high school and occasionally I'll now see an old boyfriend (cuz I was such a skeeza) on TV or in a movie. Like I'm watching Law and Order with my husband in bed and in walks "Perp #1" (aka the first guy who dumped me on my ass in NYC). Ick. I feel all weird and clammy.

Amy said...

Though many people will always have a little something in their heart for a prior love, it sounds like you are much better off. Take care.

Theresa said...

Wow! That was a surprise ending. I know what you mean. My father was/is an ass. Always was always will be. I remember when I was about 7 saying my belly hurts. He of course said "That would be an awful big hurt." He was abusive to my mother and was a bigger prick to me as I grew older. Finally he kicked me out when I was 19 because I decided I wasn't going to the catholic church anymore. Did I mention he doesn't even go to church??
Anyway, I married a guy who couldn't be any farther away from my father. But yet, as a grown woman I still find myself longing for his acceptance. His approval. His love?? What the heck is it about that?

Liz said...

this was a great post...and, seriously, i think i could've written it myself. only not so well as you.
except when i found my ex's blog/book, i felt so deeply betrayed. still.
i wonder when i'll be able to let that go?

Anonymous Boxer said...

The Internet remains a powerful and scary tool.

I found my ex (the one who broke my heart, yup.)on a University website. He's a Professor.

And he's bald now.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had that same reaction when I found my ex's blog. I was unfortunately crushed. Crushed that it wasn't me smiling in all the pictures hanging on his arm. Crushed that it wasn't me who had his babies.

Anonymous said...

This should be a "must read" to any fathers who have daughters so they realize how influential they are.

Sometimes I envy my daughter. I was never a daddy's girl. She has the best daddy in the world.

Anonymous said...

See, I avoided that kind of awkwardness entirely by marrying my first serious boyfriend. Problem solved.

As far as your Dad goes, I don't know if there is a more pivotal and convoluted relationship than the father-daughter relationship. I don't even really have the words to describe my relationship with my Dad. What I can tell you is that I love him desperately. Desperately. It's the best word, because it shows the intensity, and the way he manages to stay emotionally just outside of my grasp......

See, Mom's are so much easier than Dads. I hate mine. No complications there. ;-)

Paige Jennifer said...

Wonderful post. Just wonderful.

Stephanie D. said...

Good post. Very insightful and thoughtful. I also read all the comments/posts from your readers and ladies (and gentlemen), I concur heartily....with one twist. I WAS, AM and always WILL BE a Daddy's girl. My Daddy loves me unconditionally and I return his love 100-fold. He absolutely shaped me (and my sister) and we know our worth as women, wives & as mothers. I watched my Dad love my mom over the years and realized that I would settle for no less from my hubby! (and I didn't...)
Lena, you are lucky to have made the father-connection and this will only make you stronger!

Jamie said...

Amazing post!!

Kathy said...

It is extremely creepy to read this. Why? Because I could have written an identical one myself. Practically verbatim.

Isabel Kallman said...


Nicky said...

It's like your words were written straight from my heart.

Linsey said...

I know how you feel. I recently reconnected with an ex and it was a big mistake. I would rather have let him live in my mind - he was much better there!

Tamara said...

What reflection you're able to do through writing. I often google exes and sometimes I'm afraid to find them. What if they are happy without me? What if they're miserable failures? Which is worse?

Food for thought!

Kristi Sauer said...

I haven't seen my ex in 9 years but still think and dream about him...

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