More than one generation of pop star has warned us that love is a battlefield (whether you are listening to Jordin Sparks or Pat Benatar).
Lately I’ve found myself walking in a minefield, dealing not only with my own breakup, but with the breakup of several couples who were important in my life. It has felt like a spy game of who’s seeing who, who's friends with who, and wondering if you can play a neutral part or if you have to pick a side. And since I grew up in the 1980s, it really got me to thinking … if love is war, when it comes to breakups, are we living in a cold war world again?
This past weekend I was visiting my mom in Fresno but decided to live on the edge (or live dangerously, depending on how you look at it) by going out for sushi with my friend Ashley. While the idea of sushi in Fresno may seem questionable, it wasn’t nearly as questionable as the stories Ashley and I began sharing about our recent dating trials and tribulations.
“I thought we might have some chemistry after the way he introduced me to his family,” Ashley said, noting that he introduced her to his dad by explaining to him that when his father was a Father, or more specifically a Catholic priest (yes, you read that right and should find the irony in it), he had baptized her.
“I also told him that he married my parents but I don’t think he found it nearly as entertaining as I did.”
Despite the top secret family history adding some excitement to the dating, Ashley found her would-be boyfriend less than exciting and put the brakes on it. When she did, he challenged her, asking her to give him a second chance because he hadn’t really showed her the real him …
“We had been dating for six months!” Ashley exclaimed as we shared a sushi roll aptly named, the Supergirl roll. “If I hadn’t gotten to know him who the hell was I getting to know?”
“I think you should de-friend him on Facebook,” my level-headed roommate Larry had said to me back in July, days after the big breakup.
Of course I protested this idea. “His profile’s privacy preferences are set on high, if I de-friend him how am I going to spy on him?”
And spy on him I did, because information is power and how else would I track what he was doing while he was in San Diego for Pride? How else could I see if he was sincere in his proclamations that he was making changes in the hopes that we would one day get back together?
Of course, it was a two way street of passive-aggressive communication. On more than one occasion he’d text me about a status update that he had misinterpreted to believe was about him and despite what he might believe, it wasn’t all about him.
Well, except for the time he asked for my mailing address because he had a letter he wanted to send to me with an update on his progress. That was when I changed my facebook status to “Travis Bone is listening to Eminem featuring Rihanna in 'Love The Way You Lie' on repeat. Again.”
The Iron Curtain
While I was doing my best to keep the iron curtain up between us, my ex was sending me photos of the "Transformers 3" filming on the streets of Chicago. It was something I was well aware of, because I don’t just use the Internet to spy on my ex, I use it to keep tabs on the filming and photos from the set.
I don’t know if he was doing it to try and keep the door open between us, or just to be nice. However, I was gracious when I was while driving up to Fresno last week and he sent me a photo of the bumblebee Camaro on the set of the film, so I sent him a simple "thank you."
While I had my phone out, I decided to update my Facebook status to, “Travis Bone has a Raspberry Sprinkles Cupcake surprise for someone special.” Which I thought was innocent enough, because it was for my mom who always bakes for me when I am coming home. Since I couldn’t match her in the kitchen I thought I would surprise her with the cupcake flavor of the month. However, not everyone found it as innocent as I did ...
“That little jerk de-friended me on Facebook,” I said indignantly to my friend Hunter over the phone. “He took me off his facebook before I could take him off mine. How am I supposed to spy on him now?”
I went on to explain that the only thing I had done since he sent me his last text was to update my Facebook status about the cupcake for a special someone. He must have read that to mean I had moved on and that there was a new man in my life.
“Maybe it’s not all about you,” Hunter said, sounding unusually firm. “Maybe he’s decided to move on. Maybe he doesn’t want to be reminded of you anymore.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Keeping tabs on him had become like a drug for me. I could click, type, read and get my fix. I could know that I was doing OK, maybe even better than he was. I could see what I thought was his false front to hide that he was hurting. I could read the passive-aggressive messages that I assumed were directed at me.
But maybe it wasn’t all about me anymore …
And being the true friend he is, Hunter pointed out, “He hasn’t de-friended me yet, I can send you screenshots if he has any good updates!”
Two months ago I ended my relationship, but that doesn’t mean I had moved on or that I was even over it. I just knew I had to get out of it and I don’t regret that decision. Maybe I hadn’t let go and I was looking for some glimmer of hope by looking at what he was doing; seeing if he was changing like he said he was, hoping he might turn into someone I would want to be with again.
I know now that was wrong and thankfully, he’s made the decision a lot easier for me. So maybe that made going on my first date with someone new this week all that much easier. The ties have been cut and it’s time for me to start a new mission.
Travis D. Bone is a Los Angeles based writer and a graduate of the University of California San Diego. After spending 13 years in San Diego where his journalism efforts earned him a San Diego Press Club award he took his chances on moving to Los Angeles to become a television writer. Now he’s working in finance for a studio, so that didn’t turn out quite the way he expected. On the upside he’s still writing, still single and still living it up splitting time between Los Angeles and San Diego. In short, he’s got a lot of stories to tell.