I met Jerry on December 20th, 2003; I was 17 and in high school, and he was 19 and a musician. We spent the better part of eight years together. In the first year and a half, I was given a promise ring one night at a fancy romantic dinner. Shortly after that dinner, I found out he was sleeping with my best friend after suspicion led me to snoop his cell phone. I broke up with him, and then we got back together. We tried and did, to an extent, build a life together. Unfortunately, massive portions of that life were filled with lying about anything and everything on his part and disrespect. He constantly lied about who he was talking to, where he was, money and bills that were paid or not paid, weed use, and in general, who he was. We fought a lot because of all the lying. I could never trust him. There was no recovering since another lie was just on the horizon. We were always slipping. I never felt secure. I was never considered. Things that were important to me were disregarded by both of us. We both put him first. I’ve beaten our porn issues to death, but it is a perfect example of how everything in our relationship went. I had an issue with Jerry and porn, not because I had an issue with porn. I had an issue with how the porn affected Jerry and thus me. I wouldn’t sleep with him because his lying directly impacted my ability to be vulnerable or intimate with him. I didn’t feel secure or loved by him. He’d watch porn to compensate and then lie about it. So I wouldn’t want to sleep with him because I was hurt that he lied. My feelings were rarely taken into consideration. So, I was always on the defense. Therefore, we rarely we’re on the same team. Yet, I loved him so much. We had these cycles, which became our norm. We’d have months filled with good times and love (cards, flowers, and wonderful words) but, then a month would come up, and it would slip us back to the last slip up, and then we would start all over. Wash, rinse, and repeat. I later learned this is classic love bombing.
At this point, you may be asking: why did I stay? My blind love, his promises of change, his pleas for me to stay, my lack of self-respect, naivety, my love of personal torment (chaotic childhood/attachment issues), the glimpses of hope, and my thoughts on his potential are what kept me hooked. I did truly love him; I know it says a lot about me. Failure is a huge childhood issue for me. I felt, if I gave up on my relationship with Jerry, it was a mark of personal failure.
Another core belief of mine is actions speak louder than words. I told you, my core beliefs are so fundamental they are kindergarten lingo. I even tattooed, “they can say they love you, but it still won’t change a thing” on my back. Jerry would say, at times, the most wonderful, nice, and validating things, but (big but) he never toed the line. He could talk the talk, could never walk the walk. I always saw him as having untapped potential. If he could just stop lying, things would be better.
After five years of dating, we broke up. He moved to Maui in 2008, and I flew to Maui to get him back. On the heel of that, he cheated again. Broke up and got back together. He wrote me a song and proposed; I got a ring! And at 25, I decided to go back to school to finish my degree. We needed to relocate for me to finish my degree. I was, for the first time in our relationship, in the driver’s seat. He couldn’t hack the move. He felt his music career was taking a back seat to my goals. He began texting about meeting up with a “lesbian” who sent him multiple pictures of herself in lingerie (lesbian is in quotes because it was a copout). He set up a dating profile looking for a girl who possessed both my personality and physical qualities, but just not with the knowledge of him, which I unfortunately possessed. All of this I, of course, found out on my own. I confronted him. We cried together on the floor of our bedroom. We realized we were nearing our end. We came down to LA to visit family, and I slept with someone else and lied about it.
End of relationship.
In 2017, I wrote a poem, if you will, concerning Jerry and I emailed him about it. Got no reply.
Then in the Spring of 2018, Jerry and I corresponded through email. At this point, it had been nearly 2 years of rolling around the idea of amends. We talked about a lot of different things; my emails were reserved. Still, I put it out there that I was feeling bad about a lot of things—mainly how things were between us. To sum up Jerry’s emails, he was thoughtful, kind, and sensitive to my expressions of sadness and remorse. He was worried about me,
“I really hope you are okay. It worries me whenever you reach out to me. I always feel like you are going through something and can’t really tell me. Life is weird as shit but were not strangers. We’re the same dumb kids we always were but with adult lives to live.”
Taking this as a sign of personal growth and change for him, I felt some safety, and I dispensed pieces of pain that were on my heart in those emails, moving towards amends. He said all the right things. Things that should have been satisfactory, but I found myself doubting if he were put face to face with me, what would he say? It’s easy to respond to an email because you can type whatever. Being face to face and on the spot is a whole other thing. You can’t calculate. You can’t delete. He also shared with me that he got a new dog and “was totally in love” with the dog. (Keep this in mind for later).
We also talked about music his new band was putting out. He sent me a few demos, and they were really good. Seriously, good. But hearing and reading his lyrics got me so caught up in how he was really doing. You see, one of my regrets with Jerry is, while I was dating him, I was constantly feeling frustrated that I didn’t know who Jerry really was because he always lied. Arguably, he clearly expressed who he was or how he felt in writing his heart in his songs. And if I listen back to the stuff he recorded while we were together, he was communicating how he felt about all the issues we were having. The issues he was having. But in my self-righteousness and pain, I never heard what he was saying. So, when he sent me over these songs, one in particular, “lost in my head again — avoiding existence — but I stay trapped in the same routine — push everyone I love away — and I felt my best — when I was all alone” I couldn’t help, but listen.
In my email to him on August 7th, 2018 (shown in part I of this story), I asked him two questions. His reply to my email came a week later, only addressing the first question. I could labor on about our email exchanges and how much frustration it gave me, but in full transparency, here ya go:
The amount of gratitude I felt for getting the opportunity to see and talk to him, I cannot put into words. What I felt and thought this would do for me was quite frankly the opportunity of a lifetime—healing for a disease that seemed as if only he had the cure for.
All the way to meet him on that Thursday afternoon, I was full of nerves. I came prepared with notes. Yes. Notes. I really wanted my intention to translate and I wanted to do the work. Take responsibility. I tried to brace myself for whatever was going to happen, including him not showing up. I got to the restaurant. Grabbed a beer. Sat alone at a tabletop in the rear of the restaurant. I didn’t see him come in the door; I just felt his presence as he approached the table. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here he was, this stranger I knew better than most. I was utterly overwhelmed with nerves, anxiety, love, and familiarity when I saw him. He looked different. A lot different from how I remember him. He looked burdened, heavy. His chest was more barreled. His hair was bleached, fried. He was dressed in all black, per his norm. The lines in his face had gotten harder. Time will do that; my bags have gotten worse. But he looked like he’d let himself go a bit. I am not saying this to be mean through judgment, but I felt concerned. His light had dimmed. His birthday was that Saturday. So, as a gift, I offered to buy whatever beers he drank. I had a few myself to calm my nerves. I also brought him a few crystals, specifically Rose Quartz, which is for the heart chakra. I told him he “could throw them away” if they didn’t resonate with him. I told him about how he was coming up for me. I said, “You are like cancer in my brain that I cannot get rid of.” I told him how sorry I was, and I read off my notes:
I told him I will always accept him for who he is. A failure and regret of mine. That I will always love him for how/who he is. He did not reciprocate. Not even with apologies. Just like in our relationship, I apologized and tried to undo everything I had seemingly done to him in an attempt to restore him.
We caught up on his family and friends who have drifted through my memory. We talked about his mom. My only conversation with her is carved into my mind. Where I was and what I was wearing, and what she said to me. It echos time and again. Like when we found out, she had passed. Jerry and I were sharing a twin bed at his Grandpa’s house in Ontario. Sitting on our bed one night, his brother calls, and he doesn’t answer it. I tell him, “call him back; it may be important.” I will never forget his face and the reaction he had. It was heartbreaking. In the time Jerry and I spent together, while it was fractured, we saw each other through many life changes. Particularly loss. He was there for me when I found out my uncle committed suicide. He was at the funeral. Helped. I was there with him when his beloved Grandpa died like died. I was there when his mother passed. Our memories are intertwined. Moving on is more than moving on from each other. It is moving on from everything because it is all enmeshed.
We talked about our respective relationships, which I will keep sacred. We joked. We were happy in each other’s company. We only had an hour since he met me on his lunch break. He was working at the same job, I submitted his resume to years ago. When we got to our cars, I popped a white head on his face that had been bothering me the whole time we talked. Hugged and said goodbye. After I left him, I sent him an email with the notes I had read to him before heading home. Jerry replied, “I think we were probably sending each other an email at the same time. As I keep saying, you have no need to be sorry but I appreciate your effort to apologize. I will try my best to not be a stranger but in reflecting, it was pretty hard to see you. It brought back so many memories and feelings. I do have so much love for you too and I hope you are able to get yourself into a positive mental state. I’m here if you need anything. Just let me know.”
And “I genuinely miss you.“
To which I replied, “We need to have another lunch, there is so much more to cover.”
He sent me a text and said, “Lets have lunch again tomorrow.”