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Blast from the Past

September 21, 2010

This weekend, I had a blast from the past. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but my ex fiancée and I may have been together for almost seven years, but we broke up one time, somewhere around three or four years in. We “took a break.” The break lasted literally days. I almost can’t remember all the details that caused us to “take a break,” but it had to do with me not being sure I could be with him forever, having never really dated anyone else (um, irony anyone?). It also had to do with the fact that he didn’t love the things I loved, and didn’t seem willing to support the things I loved. You see, I love to travel. Absolutely love it. Being a military brat is now a part of my DNA and I can’t sit still for too long. My ex was happy with just saying home. I remember the straw the broke the camel’s back was when I wanted to go on a trip with my ex. I was willing to pay for most, if not all of the trip, as long as he would just take some time off of work (which is not a problem in his job) and go with me. He simply would not agree to it. Suddenly, I had this vision that I was giving up my hopes and my dreams for a man who wouldn’t give up a week of paid vacation to go on a trip with me. I’m still not sure my reasoning was valid, but a fight about this topic culminated in us taking a break.

On the break, I approached it like Ross, not Rachel, from Friends. I ended up kissing someone. OK, who am I kidding? I ended up in a full make out session with someone while on the break. We’ll call him Break Guy. Well, Break Guy and I always had a smallish connection, and had been friends for a while when we made out during my break. After this rendezvous with Break Guy, I panicked and went back to my ex. I distinctly remember sobbing on my mother’s kitchen floor (don’t ask), so scared that he would not take me back after what I had done (which of course, I told him about). He took me back, although he always said he felt like I had cheated. At the time, I justified all of this by telling myself that Break Guy was just a reminder of how much I really loved and wanted to be with my ex. Looking back, I think the fact that I did anything at all with Break Guy had more to do with the fact that I was not ready for such a serious relationship – but I forged ahead anyway. I was scared, I loved my ex, I didn’t know anything (or anyone) else. It’s funny how things work out. Hindsight really is 20/20.

This past Friday night, I went to the bar with a bunch of friends. At the bar, I saw Break Guy for the first time since that make out session years ago. It was surreal seeing someone who I had this connection with, for a brief moment in time, which I abruptly ended out of fear of the unknown and deep love for my ex. Part of me sees that moment in time, when Break Guy and I made out that one night, as a turning point. A lost opportunity. Not to be with Break Guy, necessarily, but to get out of a relationship that ended up so badly. I wonder if I had made a different decision, where I would be now. The heartbreak I could have avoided. But I guess wondering won’t get me anywhere.

Things have changed in the years since I’ve seen Break Guy. Since then, he’s had a kid with another woman and had a pretty messy break up himself. He’s changed, I’ve changed. But the attraction is still there. We ended up talking for hours, and yes, we kissed again. It was just like years ago. Only this time, I wasn’t on a break and there was no guilt keeping me from doing it. Definitely very different. I don’t know if it’s going anywhere at all, though, because he lives far away, and has a pretty complicated history himself. And, I have always said I do not want to be with someone who has a kid. It’s funny how those prerequisites sort of fall to the wayside when you are with someone, kissing them. Lastly, my feelings for Chef have been growing significantly stronger, which confuses things a lot on my crusade to date for sport. So, I don’t know what any of this means. 

Out of curiosity, where does everyone stand on hooking up with someone while “on a break”? Is it cheating? This is the only case in my history where I might be able to say I cheated. But, I truly don’t think I did. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Lastly, for your viewing pleasure, a reminder of “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” courtesy of Friends. (Sorry it wouldn’t let me embed it, but click the video to head to YouTube to watch it. Definitely worth it.)


26 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 8:51 am

    A break means not together. You didn’t kiss the guy then break. You don’t need to feel guilt. The more I read, the more I can see that your ex was not for you. Feelings have nothing to do with compatiblity. Compatiblity lasts a life time. Feelings won’t last the test of time if you don’t do things together. Free yourself from guilt. You deserve to enjoy and explore.

    • September 21, 2010 10:24 am

      Thanks for your comment. To be fair, I should note that after this fight, and the break, things really changed with us and he did his very best to respect and nurture the things that I wanted to do. He did become my travel partner, and we had some amazing trips and experiences together. I don’t say this to say we should have stayed together (that is not the case at all – we definitely were not meant to be together), but I think the fact that we shouldn’t have been together has less to do with compatibility, because once we worked out some kinks we were very compatible. It just had more to do with trust issues and honesty, which is why we broke up in the end.

      Thanks for your encouraging words. I do agree, I want to enjoy and explore – and my next partner, my next life partner, I hope will be driven by the same things.

  2. Ashley permalink
    September 21, 2010 9:09 am

    A break is a break so you don’t need to feel any guilt at all. That being said, my ex and I took a break at the one year mark of our relationship…it lasted a week though neither of us hooked up with anyone else. I somehow think that if he had then I would have been really hurt and I probably would have strongly questioned his love and loyalty for me (this could also be because I tend to overanalyze EVERYTHING!). Nevertheless he wouldn’t have been in the wrong because as I said before, a break is a break which means you’re free to do what you want…and I’m pretty sure I still would have taken him back.

    • September 21, 2010 10:26 am

      Thanks, Ashley! I know that my ex was really hurt by my behavior, and to be honest he should have been. I should not have taken a couple of a days break and used it as a justification to make out with someone else. My behavior was really immature, and looking back I know that it was more systemic of some of our problems. I don’t think he was wrong to feel hurt – I just don’t consider it cheating. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  3. September 21, 2010 9:16 am

    Cheating is one of those things that means something different to everyone. My way of defining it to myself and to others is this: If you would be hurt if the guy or gal you’re talking to did the exact same thing to you, how would you feel?

    So if you wouldn’t have cared if your break-boyfriend madeout with someone while on a break, then nope, you didn’t cheat!

    -L

    • September 21, 2010 10:28 am

      Haha, if I go by your definition than I am a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater. 🙂 I would have been very hurt if he had done what I did. I’m still not proud of my behavior at all. I don’t consider it cheating, because we were “on a break” (I almost can’t say that without thinking of Ross), but it wasn’t my finest moment. It took a lot for him to forgive me after that, and I had to earn his trust back. Seems to me, looking back, that if you need to take a break, then maybe you should just break up all together. While I would say it’s not cheating, a break is not an excuse to do whatever you want. You still need to consider your partner’s feelings.

  4. September 21, 2010 9:33 am

    It is so not cheating when you are on “a break!”

    • September 21, 2010 10:29 am

      Haha, thanks! 🙂 I only ask because whenever I have the “have you ever cheated” conversation with someone, I never quite know what to say … I don’t think I cheated, but my ex most definitely thought I did!!

  5. Kelly permalink
    September 21, 2010 10:00 am

    A break means that you each have the opportunity to explore other options; so no you didn’t do anything wrong. However I must say you are good with kids at least from what I have seen of you with them. So do not count someone out just because they have a child, it is not always a bad thing. You never want to have to wonder what if…

    • September 21, 2010 10:30 am

      Hi Kelly,
      Thanks for your comment. Umm, good with kids? Are you sure you know who are talking to here? LOL. Thanks for saying that, but I always feel like kids just don’t get me (or me them!). You are probably right, I shouldn’t count someone out immediately because they have a kid, but it is a barrier for me. Be sure to check out the next post coming up – explores the kid issue a bit more!

  6. September 21, 2010 12:25 pm

    Yip…EVERY time I read “on a break” in your post, the voice in my head was Ross. 🙂

    A “break” is a funny thing, because when we take them, we rarely take the time to determine the rules surrounding said break. But as long as there is full disclosure post-break, I think your conscience should rest assured.

    Funny post — thanks for inspiring the Ross reminiscing…

    • September 21, 2010 3:37 pm

      I know! He says it so shrill too. I think every time my ex and I got into a fight about it afterwards, I sounded just like Ross too. “We were on a break!!”

      You are right, there is generally not enough rule-setting before taking a break. That probably would have been good, in hindsight, to prevent confusion and misunderstanding. There was definitely disclosure post break (um, the very morning after the make out session, LOL), so I don’t feel as bad about it. But, if you feel the need to disclose what happened post break, maybe doing anything during the break is not right? Because if it is truly a break, and not cheating, there should be no need for disclosure, right? Just a thought.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Aww, how I miss Friends…

  7. September 21, 2010 3:28 pm

    As I see it, the reason to take a break is to explore NOT being together. Part of NOT being together entails meeting new people and potentially being with other people.

    If you’re still together, but are having problems and want to take time physically apart to figure out whatever it is you need to figure out, that, to me, isn’t a break at all. It’s just taking some time to figure things out.

    My two cents.

    • September 21, 2010 3:41 pm

      Good points. There is definitely a difference between a break to explore not being together and a break to just take some time apart and think. I guess both parties need to be on the same page when it comes to that. I think I wanted to be apart so I could explore other things…. I even went out that night with the intention of kissing someone (I know I’m terrible)! But I’m not sure my ex had the same intentions with the break. Live and learn…

      Thanks for your two cents. Your two cents is always welcome here. Even if you aren’t up to a full two cents on some days, I’ll even take a penny. 🙂

      • September 21, 2010 3:49 pm

        Dude, most days I’m willing to shell out at least a fifty-cent piece. 😉

        But… yes, I think therein lies the problem. I believe that, sometimes, we want to explore other options, but not necessarily give up what we already have. As the saying goes, we want to have our cake and eat it, too.

        So, we say that we want to “take a break.” But, either consciously or subconsciously, we keep the term vague, so the other person won’t know exactly what we’re planning on doing.

        After all, if we come right out and say, “I want to date other people”… well, we might as well be saying that we want to break up, no? And if we do that, we risk losing the other person outright.

        So, instead, we exercise the “taking a break” option in order to meet other people, but still hold on to the relationship… just in case.

        See, now, there’s at least a dime for ya. 😉

        • September 21, 2010 10:14 pm

          Ohhhhh. That’s definitely a dime. Or like a quarter. You are so right (aren’t you always?). You should get a job giving people dating advice. I think you are exactly right – we keep a “break” very vague purposefully. I think I probably did. Holding onto the relationship, just in case… it’s like keeping it in your back pocket. You aren’t quite prepared to throw it away, but you don’t want it right in front of you, you just sort of hold onto it in case you need it. Which is obviously crappy, but sort of human nature. I think I’ve learned my lesson from my first “break” though. I suspect that if you want a “break,” and the terms of that break include wanting to see other people, you probably shouldn’t be together. So don’t string the other person along.

          Thanks for your infinite wisdom, Dennis… 🙂

      • September 22, 2010 3:21 am

        Hehe. Thanks, I’m glad you appreciate my dimes and quarters. But yeah… that would be kinda cool to actually make money doling out whatever it is I happily dole out to anyone willing to listen. 😉

  8. September 21, 2010 4:11 pm

    I think if someone asks if you’ve ever cheated, you can say “No”. I can see why your ex would be hurt by your choice, but I think you were acting within your rights on a break. Also, you were much more honorable about it than Ross was – you were honest and forthcoming straight afterwards, whereas Ross tried to hide it, which was possibly even more hurtful once Rachel discovered it all.

    • September 21, 2010 10:17 pm

      Hey Matt,
      I agree about the honesty. I couldn’t imagine going back to my ex without telling him what happened when we were apart. And I certainly couldn’t imagine almost marrying him if I hadn’t told him. Thanks for the reassurance that I can say “no” I never cheated. Not proud of the way I acted, but I wouldn’t call it cheating. Appreciate your thoughts.

  9. September 22, 2010 2:37 pm

    I am a military brat too–the desire to travel certainly can get into a person’s blood…

    • September 22, 2010 9:42 pm

      I know! It’s hard to quench the desire if you have a normal job, in normal America, and not a ton of money to travel either … that’s why it is so important to me that I am with someone who wants to see/experience new things and travel. A definite must in my next guy.

  10. Claudia permalink
    September 24, 2010 10:19 am

    A break is the exact same as a break up, but with the added drama of trying to working it out. You didn’t cheat, but it’s understandable that he’d feel that way. But you still didn’t cheat.

    As a fellow travel bug, I can fully attest to marriages being seriously strained when the other is not. My ex hated traveling. We went on 3 trips in the 5 years together and complained so much through it that he ruined it. The kicker was he’d get whiny at the mention of me traveling alone. It’s a loose/loose situation.

    The point of dating is find the things within yourself that you are unwilling to give up and then find someone who who fits. While a healthy relationship will have both compromising on many things, too many people loose the person whom they are and end up miserable.

    • September 24, 2010 11:19 am

      Hi Claudia,
      That sounds like such a frustrating situation. He didn’t want to travel with you, but didn’t want you to travel without him. It’s like he’s trapping you in a corner. And the fact that he would complain during the trip – annoying!!! Why ruin it for your partner? Can’t you see they are enjoying themselves and this is what drives them? During this fight with my ex, I felt the same way. Maybe it’s close minded of me, but I can’t fathom that someone is paying for much of your trip and they just want you there with them – that is all they are asking for – but you can’t do it. Eventually, we were able to work it out more, but I could tell it was going to be an issue in our relationship for the rest of our lives. That’s one thing I’m happy I won’t have to deal with now.

      Thanks for your advice, on the “break” and the keys to a healthy relationship. I don’t want to lose who I am – ever again.

  11. October 4, 2010 11:46 pm

    Nope. Definitely not cheating. If you’re on a break, then you’re sort of broken, right? Been there, done that (and though I didn’t kiss anybody else, I would have had the opportunity presented itself!).

    I’m also a “military brat,” although secretly I despise the term. And oddly enough, because we traveled the whole time I grew up – moving to a new state every three years – I’m happy with staying put forever. Guess I want roots because I never had any before.

    • October 5, 2010 10:20 am

      Thanks for saying it’s not cheating. Just made my day 🙂
      I don’t like the term military brat either! It’s interesting how we both took our experiences and enacted them in our lives in opposite ways. I feel stuck if I don’t go somewhere (at least a vacation),but you want to put down roots. But for my children, I definitely want them to have roots. I want them to have lifelong friends, and a real home. That’s something I never had.

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