I Saw Him Smiling.

Last week was the wedding of some mutual friends of SCL and me. I had decided months before that I couldn't go (a wedding in Denver on a Thursday? I think not), but SCL would since he was better friends with them. I didn't think too much of it until I saw the pictures of the wedding.

And he was smiling. Laughing, dancing, enjoying himself. And it killed me.

I saw pictures of myself from two weeks ago, and I could see it in my eyes that I felt deep sadness. I couldn't even bring myself to go to my friend's wedding at home last weekend, and there he was, laughing and enjoying himself and looking happy, even giving a playful lap dance to the bride. He was happy. At a wedding. Without me.

Is it sick that I want to see evidence that he's hurting? I know it really wouldn't make me feel better or make me feel less sad, but it feels like such a slap in the face to see him smiling like that. I'm envious and hurt and frustrated. And I wonder why I can't smile like that. Why does it seem so easy for him?

I know pictures do not tell the whole story--and the ones I saw probably aren't telling the story I have in my mind--that he's overjoyed and thankful to have cut me out of his life. But maybe he is. Maybe he said 'I'm done" and never looked back. I'll never know the answer.

It's just so hard not to care, not to put myself in situations like this because the part of me that's curious about him is larger than the part of me that wants to protect myself from situations like this. Because I want to hang on to something. I want to know that he did care for me, that he is feeling a loss. I want to feel less alone in this loneliness.

I'm crying. He's laughing. Is it ever the other way around? I feel so pathetic.


  1. I think men can be better at hiding their feelings in public. If he is, however, not mourning the way you are now, he will be one day. It always seems like if people don't process their grief in time and instead bury it, it will resurface later in much more serious and sad ways. ::hugs::

  2. I think you're right, but I don't remember seeing him that happy when he was with me. It makes me very sad.

  3. I felt exactly the same way. At first it was very difficult to cut the ex out of my life. Seeing new pictures without me was the worst. Eventually through concentrating on other things, new things, I was able to just let it go. The hard part is the amount of time it takes.

    And no it's not sick that you wish to see him in pain. It's perfectly normal.

    You'll get to a happier place. I know you will :)

  4. I recently found out that my ex's new girlfriend is really trashy and his family hates her and he's really not all that happy with her...and it made me happy. Well, maybe not happy, but...I liked hearing it. And we broke up twelve years ago. So, it's not sick that you want to see him unhappy. It's normal.

    Eventually this will all become easier to deal with and the curiosity to know about his life will get less and less. Until then, just try to avoid pictures of him. I know...easier said than done.

    Good luck and hugs to you.

  5. I found your blog when I googled "inconsolable after a break-up" and discovered your post on babying yourself when feeling inconsolable.

    This entry speaks to me so much -- I understand how you feel about wanting to see him hurting, wanting to see evidence that he feels some pain. I've felt that way since my ex and I broke up a month ago. It's been overwhelming -- there have been times when I've struggled with my anger so badly that it felt as if the only outlet I might have would be violence. (I never acted on it, obviously, but it terrified me to feel that way.) I don't know how to stop feeling like this.

    Your blog inspired me and made me finally start my own journal to chronicle how I feel -- not something I'm good at, despite being someone with a degree in writing. I'm good at writing about imaginary feelings of imaginary people. My own feelings? That's another story. So thank you for being such an amazing writer that you inspired my own writing.

    And let me know if you figure out how to forgive him for being happy. And how to start being happy yourself. I hope it gets better.

  6. Lady.... even after Dustin and I got together I still sometimes felt a little pang in my stomach when I heard certain things about my ex - that he was dating a nice girl who he met while he and I were still together, and later than they were moving in together... it was one of those things where even though I had moved on I still for some reason wanted HIM to be in some sort of emotional turmoil over the end of us.

    Just remember you don't see what goes on behind closed doors and guys always seem better at hiding their sadness than us women. And I don't see that as them being strong... in fact, I see that as a weakness in the end.

  7. It's been years since my ex and I broke up. And I am happily married to someone who wants to spend his life with me. That said, I still occasionally see an update on my ex and the woman he left me for...and it makes me sick to my stomach every single time. I think what you're feeling here is completely normal.

  8. I'm the type of girl who finds it hard to even be happy for people I like, when good things happen to them! (Such as getting engaged, getting pregnant, finding a great job, etc.) So I totally know what you're getting at.

    Maybe he was drunk?! Or just faking it? It could happen! Plus, guys are so much better at hiding their emotions than girls.

  9. Don't be so sure that his smile means anything too deep and profound. And honestly, I think it would make you feel better if he looked beaten down. It's called human nature. I've been apart from my ex for 9 years and I still wish bad bad things would happen to him.

  10. it's like that post-it note episode from SATC. why guys can't conduct themselves during/after a break-up in a way that honors the relationship is beyond me. my best advice is to cut him and all ties to him out as much as possible and no stalking of any kind.

  11. p.s. you're not pathetic...i think it's just a woman's nature to want the other person to be empathetic in what we are feeling. so we want them to be unhappy because we are or even if we're not. TOTALLY ok. we're women. it's our right. screw them.

  12. Ditto Aubrey & Krysten! I dont think it EVER goes away! Odd the way that works, you will smile soon and it will be a permanent feeling because you are working through all the ugly now, his will sneak up and bite him in the a** eventually! =)

  13. I have been reading for a while, but never commented.
    This totally pulled at my heartstrings having been there myself. And I agree it is totally normal!! Seeing photos of my ex on facebook hurt so much! Yet it was like you couldn't not look and even if you know in your head that its obviously not the whole picture, you don't realise this when you look at the photos and even if you do realise it, it doesn't matter. It still hurts.

    Evenutally I realised that the only one I was hurting was myself. I even blocked him from my fb homepage. However this was after almost a year after our breakup!
    Definately easier said that done to avoid things like this!

    Know that eventually things will get better. (Again easier said than done, and you probably hate hearing that)
    Take care of yourself! Lots of hugs!!

  14. Thanks, everyone, for your words of wisdom. Now I know I'm not alone!

  15. Reminds me of the song "Ruin" by The Pierces.

    I felt the exact same way, doll. I had to stop being friends with my ex on FB because every update about him drinking or going on killed me. He started flirting with some girl via threads and statuses and I was obsessing.

    I thought I learned my lesson when I met up with him about a month after we broke up, and I saw with my own eyes how miserable he was. And it made me *more miserable, not happy at all. It's something you think in theory - I don't want you to be happy without me - but in front of me, it was really something painful to witness.

    More than anything else, I wish you a quick recovery and that you would be able to move on, independent of whatever else SLC does.


  16. Years ago I went through something like this. Looking at pictures is the worst thing you can do because the story in your head is always going to be a lot worse than reality. Pictures can be so deceiving.

    I know you're in so much pain, but keep distracting yourself and try your best to do things that make you happy.

  17. oh hunny, I can totally realate to this. SO MUCH LOVE YOUR WAY.

  18. oh i am just chiming into this story so i don't know much about it... but my first reaction is... i bet you anything he knew you would be looking at the wedding pictures and that you would be seeing him, so obviously he didn't want you to see him having a bad time. he was probably trying to have an overly fun time and cover up any sadness whatsoever!
    i know it's tough, i've been there :-( but the best help is to just force yourself not to look at pictures of him. and instead look at pictures of, like, javier bardem :-)

  19. 12 years and you still haven't gotten over your ex? Ok, an ex who has moved on? A decade ago? o_O...I can't understand but all the best with that.
    Non-student, what you are going through is NORMAL. That....boy (you said we can't call him names) is acting all happy and what not, but maybe his behind is a bit happy. If he did not love you as much as he said then maybe he is infact relieved(I am very upset that he had these feelings and knew how you felt about him and kept carrying on but we can be idiots sometimes). As a man, I will tell you this...sometimes we sit down and reflect about our past loves and sometimes we really don't. If we let you go because we recognized that our feelings for you were not on the same level as yours, most of the sadness we feel is usually one of "I hurt her so much and she cared about me, I am a monster". It sucks but it is true. I am not going to come on here and tell you, behind closed doors he is bawling his eyes out...I want you to know that there is a strong possibility that he isn't doing that.
    Now, I honestly hope you will not be twinging 12 years from now, if you and SCL are not back together and he has moved on. I wish more for you than that. I wish you a Krysten and Dustin kind of love and more. You are a wonderful girl to support a man who is in grad school (Your blog makes me appreciate my girl a lot, because I am the grad student and she is my center).
    I'd just focus on me right now, stop wondering why it seems he is not hurting as much because the truth of the matter is, he just might not be and this will make you feel so sad. He has hurt you enough already, he does not deserve to continue hurting you like this. I look forward to you getting back on your feet, learning from this experience and growing from it. It will take time (not 12 yrs) but you will get there, you are a do I know? you fought tooth and nail and a brickhead (oops that one slipped out) of a man to keep your relationship together. You felt there was hope and you hung in there. That is a fighter!!!! These feelings will pass once you let yourself start to heal.

    I understand if you feel my comment is harsh but like I said, I do not want to feed you the "the pictures are a facade, he is really torn and wanting to jump off a cliff" lines. He wanted to move on, get to a point where you can accept that (it was not your fault) and let it go. I just want some lucky man to come into your life and treat you with love and respect, just like you did SCL.


  20. DecemberDoc, I don't find your comment harsh at all. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. There's a lot of truth in what you said.