Ex-Boyfriend Greatest Hits: The Manipulative A-hole

(This is Part 3 in a series I've been writing, summing up my past relationships ala High Fidelity. If you're just catching up, you may want to read about All My Highschool Boyfriends and Party Guy. Not that they're crucial to the plot or anything, but they ARE funnier.)

I've actually been procrastinating writing this post. Not because it's so painful to re-live or anything, but just because I can't figure out how to make it funny. I've gotten over it, but that doesn't mean I've figured out how to laugh about it.

Also, this douchewaffle doesn't really deserve the screentime. I considered skipping him altogether, but it was a 3 year relationship and it was rather...defining.

I've already referenced this guy once here, and I dubbed him Pilot Boy. There are lots of other things I could call him, but we'll stick with that. I started dating Pilot Boy shortly after I came back from college, after a 3-year hiatus from relationships altogether. Like Party Guy, Pilot Boy was popular. He was tall, dark, and handsome, and in addition to beginning his career as a pilot, he was a bartender at THE nightclub that everyone went to on Saturday nights.

C'mon, cool guys that can get you free booze? That's pretty much where it's at when you're 23.

Anyway, I should have dumped him way earlier, like when he informed me himself that he was arrogant - as though that were a good personality trait. I should have dumped him after 6 months of dating, when he showed up to my birthday celebration 12 HOURS LATE. But he was just that good. I don't consider myself a stupid person, or a weak-willed person, or a person with particularly low self-esteem. But Pilot Boy made me all of those things. For three years.

Giving you a blow-by-blow seems rather pointless, and needlessly lengthy. I starved myself, because he called me chubby (which I most certainly was not). I drifted away from my friends, because they insisted on telling me the truth about his cheating and lies. In the face of a reliable eyewitness account that he had been holding another girls hand all afternoon at a public festival, he told me: "Well, they're lying. I was there with her, but the only time I held her hand was when she tripped and fell and I helped her up." And I bought it. I bought it all.

When I finally - finally! - woke up, I tried to break it off several times. He always convinced me that I was being ridiculous, that I was wrong. That what I was feeling was incorrect, somehow. All I had to do to get it right was to try harder. Didn't I want to get it right?

Eventually I got tired of trying to get it right. I didn't give a flying fuck HOW useless of a human being I was, I just didn't want to be in this stupid relationship anymore. And when I tried to break it off yet again, and he went on his same verbal tirade about what was wrong with me, I felt all the frustration and anger and resentment build up in my chest, and I pushed it out through my fist. Into his jaw.

Okay, so I sucker punched him. It wasn't my classiest move, but it got the message across. There were further meetings and discussions and pointless accusations, but really it all ended with that flat thwock of skin and bone.

I realize it sounds like I'm bitter, and it's true that I wouldn't cross the street to piss on him if he were on fire. But I've moved past it, and I learned from it. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world, because it helped to define several major tenets by which I now live my life:

You can't change someone, no matter how badly you want to. You have to pick your battles. Emotions aren't right or wrong, they're valid no matter what they are. And you can't let, or expect, someone else to define you. I lost sight of that, but I never will again.

I also learned that I truly have the best friends anyone could ask for. Many years later (and after a few drinks) FoN confessed to me that a couple of times, in a valiant effort to PROVE to me that Pilot Boy was cheating on me, she and Valentina went on late-night stakeouts. They borrowed an unrecognizeable car, donned their dark clothes and packed a thermos of coffee, and stalked him.

Now THAT makes it totally worthwhile.