When they move on.

What is it about finding out an ex-boyfriend is engaged?
Your stomach drops. Palms sweat.
The fact that he’s your ex-boyfriend no longer matters. Not for the moment.
You can’t believe he didn’t let you know before you just happened to come across it on Facebook.
And for some utterly mystifying and completely unreasonable reason, you can’t believe it wasn’t you he picked.

This happened to me about five minutes ago, for the first time.
Never before has “gobsmacked” been a more appropriate way to describe me.

This is a boy who slept on a top bunk in his tube socks, who bought freezers full of White Castle sliders, whose sideburns were never quite even, who was deathly afraid of the dentist.
Who decided one day he was going to move to Los Angeles after we’d started to sketch out our life plan. At 21.

After we broke up for the last time, he met this girl. And now they’re engaged.
And I want to be happy for him, but it’s hard to shake the “I wasn’t good enough.”

Even though I know, at my most lucid, that we just weren’t right. From the start, we weren’t meant to be.
We had fun, yes. From our first Thursday night closing down a Lawrence dive bar with the rest of the newsroom staff — him with a huge schooner of cheap beer, me with a Skyy and cranberry — to the time his friend walked in on us on said top bunk, despite the repeated grunts of “Not now! Not now!”
Yes, we had fun.

But I grew up a lot faster than him. I was 30 in my head before we’d even turned 21. And he was one of those project boyfriends, a fixer-upper; he knew it, and I knew it. I wasn’t up to the task — I’m only one woman! — and he didn’t want to be fixed up.
He didn’t want to grow up, even though he loved me. Nothing was going to change that.
To this new girl, he wasn’t even a little broken, didn’t need to be fixed. And that must have been it.

Really? I am happy for him.
Because I’m in a good place. And anyway, “Knight in Rusty, Ghetto Volvo Station Wagon” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
But did it have to be the one right after me? This is almost as bad as “turning a guy gay.” which my mom managed to do more than a few times before she settled down.
Only it’s actually worse for me: I turned him monogamous.

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11 Responses to “When they move on.”

  1. Deanna Says:

    "And for some utterly mystifying and completely unreasonable reason, you can't believe it wasn't you he picked."Well, one could argue that you didn't pick him just as much as he didn't pick you, my dear.

  2. WannabeRunner Says:

    It happens. And it sucks, but you just have to remember there is a reson the two of you didn't work out. Such is life!PS. My friend just found out her ex-husband got remarried – SIX MONTHS AGO. How's that for a jab in the stomach. 😛

  3. Jen Says:

    My ex, who has repeatedly come back to me over the last 13 years, got engaged to a girl he had been dating for about 4 months. He kissed me while they were dating, so I figured she was like all the rest of the "in between" girls, and I never dreamed she'd be "the one". Thank god he had the courtesy to warn me before he did it. I still haven't found a word to describe this feeling.

  4. Mr. Apron Says:

    Look at it this way: the chick he's marrying has you to thank. Maybe you smoothed out a few of his rougher feathers, sanded some less than finnessed edges. Of course, you probably won't get thanked….This is why I'm not friends with my exes on Facebook.Or in real life. Maybe, in the next life….

  5. Carrie "Cake Ball" S. Says:

    I've had that happen to me twice. It brought me to tears both times. There's no way I would ever want to be married to either of them, but I didn't understand how I wasn't worthy of being married or marriage material. It really, really hurt for awhile. It took some to learn that I deserved love and respect from a mutually loving partner. It took some time to find the person who treated me the way I wanted to be treated. I married him. It always hurt when you find out that an ex is married or engaged. Just know that you're far better off with them and their new spouse is stuck with them, not you. I'm not friends with any of exes in real life or on any social network!!

  6. Nick Says:

    I can understand how bad it sucks. Most of my ex's were project girlfriends, and I managed to help them through rough spots. Then they gave me the boot and moved on. It's a horrible feeling that you're not good enough for them or that you don't feel like they said thank you for what you've done to them.Oh well. Their loss.

  7. LisaMG Says:

    Nicely written, PW 🙂 …aaaaaand oh yeah we're gonna hafta talk about the 2nd-to-last sentence there! Whoa!

  8. sircaliban Says:

    I know the feeling. Happy for someone else that they found someone.. but bothered by the fact that it wasn't you that was chosen.i've always felt that the way we choose to handle these kinds of feelings, is the choice between happiness and misery. Focusing on the good, leads to happiness. Focusing on what might have been or what was..

  9. Shelley Coryell Jacobs Says:

    I know exactly what you are going through! My ex started dating someone within months of breaking up with me and they are still together a year later. I am dreading that moment when I find out they are engaged. Wish I could say that I would be happy for him…but…let's just say I am still not 100% over it. Love this post!

  10. Whitney Says:

    Oh, Paige! I know exactly how you feel too. Three of my exes are married now, but at this point I've gotten over the "why didn't he pick me?" stage. Now I'm more TO'ed at them because it's totally NOT FAIR. Ya know? They were pretty mean to me. Why should they get someone special to settle down and make babies with before me? Yeah… just wait til your exes start having babies before you. Yuck.

  11. bloggernoob Says:

    very entertaining writing style. its not just women who feel this way. i remember when i heard that my ex was going to get married. i was the one who broke up with her, but it didn't matter. i felt kinda self concious and blah for a few weeks.

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