Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yesterday I did something I've been avoiding for several months now. I visited the customer that Fab and I visited together the day we broke up. I put it off for as long as possible because I just didn't want to go back there and be reminded of that day, but it was becoming inevitable and I finally decided to suck it up and get it over with. It was pretty much as bad as I was expecting, but then again, I'm tired, getting a cold and the ragnanas will be visiting soon, so I was already on shaky ground to start with.

I don't think my customer noticed anything, but man, I held back tears so many times yesterday. The worst was driving past the place where my life changed forever (dramatic much, Samantha?). Where I forced Fab to tell me what was wrong and he started crying and said "I can't do this anymore". And where my mind started reeling with a billion questions. What do you mean you can do this anymore?? What the f*ck are you talking about? Why the hell did you let me buy all this frickin' furniture? Because ah yes, I am practical even in the face of heartbreak. But that part of the highway is forever burned in my mind - how unfortunate that I will be forced to drive by there several times a year for as long as I work for The Company.

And then there are the nightmares I have for the few days after I have any kind of interaction with Fab. Why do our brains torture ourselves like that? Why do I have to constantly relive the humiliation of that day? The worst thing is, it's not even emotional, it's egotistical. I feel really bad admitting this, but it's like my ego still can't believe HE would dump ME. I was a step-up for him, he was a step-down for me. So how did I end up being the one with the short end of the stick? Why would he chose an uneducated, unemployed boyish-looking country chick over me? Why is he so ready to buy a home, get married, have kids with her after only a few months of being together? That is what I can't understand, what I can't let go of. And it haunts me in my dreams.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like going to a church yesterday. I just felt the need to sit in silence and pray. To ask someone, anyone, for peace. Or at least respite. Of course, this being France, every church in every single town I drove through was locked up tight. So instead, I went back to the hotel and had some wine and watched America's Next Top Model. What else was a girl to do?

You know, 95% of the time, I'm okay with what's happened. It can't be changed and I don't miss farm life a bit. I've got a pretty good thing going in Paris, great friends and I know I'm better off in the long run, blah blah blah. But the other 5% of the time, I still wonder how the hell I ended up this way? Alone, living in a shitty apartment where I'll be able to stay for who knows how long. How did this happen to me? I've worked so hard to get where I am in life, and this is all I've got to show for it? It's just not where I pictured myself at this age.

So basically, I just want to know when this all gets easier. When coming to see my clients in this area will no longer make my heart clench involuntarily. When seeing places we've visited together will no longer affect me. When the mere mention of Bretagne will not make me shake my fist in the air in its general direction (you all know you've seen me do it). When this part of the process will be over with. When the thought of meeting someone new will not automatically make me run in the other direction for fear of another broken heart.






Blogger Fned said...

My dear Ksam, I think you're on the right track to getting to that 100% of feeling okay with all that's happened. I understand it must be hard still, but you're a strong woman and very intelligent. I know you know the answers to the questions you ask and slowly but surely they will become less and less painful.

Here are some ways I can think of that could perhaps help you?:

- You need to make NEW memories that connect Bretagne to your brain. Go there with Friends during a weekend or bring someone with you on one of your business trips (even if that person stays in the car while you do business or goes sightseeing or trekking) and then go out and have dinner or wine-tasting/cheese-tasting or to church.

- When you ask yourself what do you have to show for yourself make this your mantra: "I am living in one of the more glamorous, hectic, difficult, expensive cities in the world. I have a job here. I have friends here. I know the language and the culture. I have made a life here. I traveled the less traveled path and have excelled at it where others have failed". Living in a foreign country is no easy deal and no just anyone would have been able to do it. Tell yourself this. Remember that what you have accomplished is not "banal" at all!

Here's hoping you'll feeling better soon.


November 18, 2008 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Sam, men are a funny bunch. You were too good for him and he knew it. He was not comfortable in the lesser role - women marry up, men marry down because their egos can't stand the strain of being inferior.

Even if you never gave rise to the idea that you were above him, he surely felt it. The proof is he now has some plouc chick who he can feel superior to and he's all ready to tie the knot.

It's not the first time such a thing has happened and it certainly won't be the last.

Cheer up, you have a life which is fun and interesting. You're young and have a lot of time in which to meet a great guy.

When you've been with someone for years, it takes months and months to get over it. Don't fight it, but go with the flow, and just know cosily in your heart that it was for the best. Cos it surely was.

November 18, 2008 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Milk Jam said...

I agree with both of the other comments and I have to say you were so brave confronting those old haunts.. that is never ever easy but now that it's done I'm sure it will get easiER but perhaps never easy.

it's totally ok to let yourself feel down in the dumps in situations like that because you KNOW you're doing amazing things now!!!

big hugs!!!! my door is always open if you miss the countryside ;-)

ps the word verification is : haircel LOL

November 18, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

Sarah and the others are right on the money.

I don't know when. I'll just say that it will. It may take a long time for you to get over the heartbreak but it'll happen. 95% is not so far from 100% when you think of it really.

HUGS and bring on 2009.

November 18, 2008 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Rochelle said...

Fned, you really hit the nail on the head in your comment and very nicely articulated too! Especially the last point.

November 18, 2008 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

I would say that his leaving you wasn't about you. It was about him. What others say or do is always a reflection of where they are and what they are feeling within themselves.

As far as moving on ... only time and new dreams for you will make that happen.

Of course, all of the above is only one woman's opinion.

November 18, 2008 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Good for you for visiting the customer. It will probably be a little bit easier next time. And even easier the time after that.

If you felt like he was such a step down for you when you were together, that was probably very difficult for him to live with. From the way you describe him, he does seem like he'd be fairly sensitive to things like that. I imagine that had something to do with why he ended it, whether he'd ever admit that or not.

You're doing fine. All things considered, you're doing very, very well. Where did you expect to be at this time in your life? Would you want to be anywhere else right now?

November 18, 2008 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

About 2 years, I'd say. I think you're doing a bang up job of working on stuff you want to do, instead of rolling around in your pit of misery, so you will heal.

It really is the same as a death, as far as emotional healing goes.

November 18, 2008 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Anglofille said...

When you ask "when," I think you are really asking when you will be indifferent to the situation. Indifference comes when it comes and cannot be rushed.

I recently achieved indifference about a situation that had caused me a tremendous amount of pain. I couldn't imagine that I would ever feel indifferent about the situation and about this particular person. But now I do feel indifferent - this person and what he thinks and does no longer concerns or interests me. Three months ago I would have never thought it was possible for me to feel this way, but then it just happened without me even noticing it.

I think this will happen for you. You know in your heart that you are better off now, even if your life is not exactly where you want it to be. [Whose life is where they want it to be? I've never met anyone who feels that way.] The most important thing is not to beat yourself up for feeling this way. It's perfectly natural and normal to feel what you are feeling. You need to experience this whole range of emotions before you can move on. But you will move on when the time is right.

November 18, 2008 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger PAULINE said...

I was a step-up for him, he was a step-down for me, do you think that he ever knew this is what you thought /felt, or is this just with hindsight from you now? As Jennifer says this probably has a good deal to do with why everything ended so badly.

How long will you take to heal, I have no idea, my heart has never been broken but the only way is forward, that’s for sure.

From where I am you seem to be coping really well, you’ve gone ahead with an apartment, job, life, most of us would have drowned under the same circumstances.

November 18, 2008 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger purejuice said...

i'm with fned.
reframe the bretagne story by taking a thelma and louise roadtrip there with buds. do some voodoo (set a toy wooden boat to sea? and dance on the beach?)
he did give you france, if not himself, and that really is a wonderful prize.

November 18, 2008 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

I don't even have moments to remember of the Frenchman here in Paris but I go NOWHERE without thinking of him. Just knowing he could have existed somewhere by gives me pause. And just TRY to make me listen to Serge Gainsbourg without me falling into a pit of despair. They are like ghosts that we have to exorcise and that takes time. Just be patient with yourself. Be kind and strong and tender, just like you already are. Time does the rest, we hope!!

November 18, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Sam, eventually this will all be a faded memory. I totally agree with what the others have said, and more importantly, what you said yoursef - he know that you were too good for him. He is the one with crippling self-esteem issues. Don't absorb them into yourself, you are better than this. There is a man there for you, one that will be your similar and things will be easy with. Don't search for him, the universe will bring him to you. Just find your own happiness and peace. When these arrive you will be a magnet and attract all good things to you. This is a time of repair for you. Embrace this.

Yeh, I've been through this before .... 'nough said. Sucks.

You'll be fine. Just keep pushing forward and allow the healing to happen. ^^

November 18, 2008 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger PutYourFlareOn said...

Ah, my heart got tight reading this entry of yours. I have been here. Right before I met Julien actually. The man I was dating before Julien was supposed to be the one. I had decided and then I went to France and things changed, he changed, I changed and I was lost. But then I met Julien and again my life changed and everything makes sense.

It will happen for you, Sam. It will. You are a beautiful, funny, caring person. It will happen. :) Hang in there...

Come and have tea (or juice) with me anytime... I'm still up for teaching you to knit, if you want? :)

November 18, 2008 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger French Fancy said...

because I don't know what happened to you in Brittany there's not much I can say. You do sound down and if there's one thing in Brittany that I see all the time - it's an unlocked church.

A quick look at the other comments makes me realise that a man is involved. A Breton man? They are very different on the whole from other men that I've met - more old-fashioned and quaint.

You can't ruin the rest of your life by living in the past. You are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world - there are many who would give anything to be you.

November 18, 2008 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I felt compelled to comment......

They say that Everything happens for a reason. I know it sounds stupid but it is true. There is a reason why you are going down this road. It will lead you on to bigger and better things. All will be okay. Look foward and believe in yourself.

If that doesn't work - plan a night out with the girls. That always does wonders for the soul!

November 18, 2008 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

I think you answered your own question. He couldn't do those things with you precisely because you were above him. He doesn't have the wherewithall to rise above himself to your level. He doesn't have to be any more than he is to feel equal with the bimbo.

November 18, 2008 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

I think it'll always surprise you. Even after you get over the big things, something little will turn up (smells do this for me, or songs) and make it hurt again. But it'll hurt less and the little things will get littler. Anyway, that's how it felt for me, although I was with my Frenchman not anywhere near as long as you two were together. But I suspect he broke up with me partly because he thought I was too good for him, which was infuriating in its own right! To me it made me feel like he didn't see me as a whole person. So definitely feel free to be pissed off about it too.

On the other hand I do think you have accomplished a lot. Think about how many people live a life they're unhappy with because they're afraid to try anything new. So spend some time being proud of yourself.

November 18, 2008 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

sending big as mental hugs your way.

November 18, 2008 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Oh Sam... There's not much more I can add because everyone before me said it so well... I do agree with all of it... and in time, in time.... even if it leaves that tache... the sting or hurt will go away in time... and it will become just a memory or an experience you went through in your life that brings you to the next one... I always like to think that my past relationships have shaped me to be the person I am now.. things I have learned along the way, as painful as they all were! I've had many a heartbreak--- but, fortunately... just when you aren't expecting it... Life takes a turn... and POOF--- you look back and you can't believe where you've landed (in a very good way, too..... Not knowing WHEN exactly that will happen, just that it WILL happen!!!!
I am sooo proud of you and all that you have accomplished... It's something to be very proud of, too!!! You're a beautiful person, inside and out!!
Peace to you!!!

November 18, 2008 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ciel de Paris said...

Wow Sam. You just made me feel "normal." I go through the same stuff, not as much, but every so often I find an excuse to miss my Frenchie who I also had great big plans with. I have no advice, but I can throw a couple of great big clichés at you and tell you that everything happens for a reason and that time heals all wounds. Yeah, I still afford myself the luxury of feeling sad about Him, but at the same time I like looking forward. Everything is a learning experience.

And hello? 1. Apartment in Paris. 2. Employed. 3. Free of a life that was not for you. And last but not least---4. Single in Paris!!!

I’d say you landed on your feet missy!

November 19, 2008 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I want to start with the positive and say with what I have been reading, you are doing awesome ;)
I think that you are a strong woman, Sam and yes, will rise above this.
Just let the "poison", work it's way out of you.Yes, even if it isn't easy, esp in your job situation.

I've been there too... if I think about the city where an ex once lived now,I'm totally indifferent !!

But, I think there will be a moment when all these bad moments will just disintegrate. Leaving you stronger...

November 19, 2008 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Our Juicy Life said...

sam - don't beat yourself up about why he left YOU...because it really had nothing to do with you. I know that might be hard to understand but it's true. It's not a relection of actually might have been too good for him - no not actually but yes, too good for him. Sometimes that's hard for a guy to deal with.

You will no longer feel the pain when it's ready to let go of you, right now it's still in your bones and head and a part of you.

I'm proud of where you are, who you have become and what you are doing and once you meet that someone special, who you will just have to stop looking, all the pain will fade away.

hugs from the aveyron.

November 19, 2008 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger misplaced texan said...

I don't even know how I can contribute more to what everyone else said because they took the words write off my keyboard (so to speak). You're brilliant, you have a great job (that just gave you a raise!), you're independent, you've done what many people could only wish to do so successfully and efficiently by moving here, integrating and making a home.

I totally agree with (the other) Sarah about why Fab ended your relationship to start one with someone less educated and more dependent than you. You've come such a long way in such a short time, and I don't doubt you'll get over that last 5% sooner than you expect.

Hang in there, darlin'!

November 19, 2008 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger misschris said...

Oh sam I'm sorry. I feel all that pain in your writing :( No words of wisdom just ::hugs::

November 19, 2008 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Hang in there, 95 down, 5 to go!

And you know Yuri and I are always here to make new, happy, good memories of Bretagne.

November 19, 2008 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Séverine said...

Just wanted to say that you got some great advice there. I also like the idea of going to Brittany with some good friends and having a blast. Try Saint Malo and Cancale. Very nice places.

Also, you will feel indifferent soon. And probably laugh about it. I had a traumatic relationship once, when I was 18/19. Now that I think about it, I forgot the name of that guy, got rid of everything reminding me of him a long long time ago and now it doesn't affect me at all. I tried to create better memories with the things I couldn't get rid of.

November 20, 2008 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

You are asking when... For me it was in between 2 to 3 years that I really stopped thinking about it and things had little or less meaning... (Sorry - just telling you how it was..) Give it time, it's still rather young..

And you are so much better off on your own in Paris. And I totally applaud you for doing this (and envy you can work in France). You are so on the right track!!!!

November 21, 2008 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Princesse Ecossaise said...

Oh, I know how you feel. I had a bf way back in the day when I was 17, and when we split up it took such a long time for me to get over him. Everywhere I went reminded me of him, all our friends were mutual so they all reminded me of times with him. It took at least a year to finally feel a lot better about it all, but even then I still occasionally felt the horrible feeling of 'if only I didn't do this or that then he wouldn't have left me'.

But eventually it went away. My life moved on and the further away from those events it moved, the better I felt and the easier it got.

Take the advice of FNED up at the top there, I think that sounds like a very good idea.

ALso, I will take a trip to Bretagne with you to make new memories! ;-)

November 21, 2008 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I agree with all of the statements above. I think it takes as long as it takes. Getting new memories will definitely help. I think the one being left has a harder time, like you were saying, with the why's. It's almost like getting fired when you think everything is going fine. Even though it's probably the best thing that could have happened..the situation was not a good fit, wrong time, wrong person, etc., there is still that feeling of what was wrong with me, why wasn't I good enough and how could you just send me away? There is some formula out there that will tell you it's x amount of time per years together, but moving to a foreign country for someone and learning a whole new culture doubles those equations. The only thing I know for sure is that time is what you need. It's the only thing that really helps. Also by allowing yourself to have those feelings of missing him or missing the life, or just wondering, what the hell! Those are very real feelings and you're completely right in having them. Acknowledge them, recognize them, and then, when you are ready, step into the new. Remember too, that at this very moment in time, nothing really so horrible is happening to you, if you are able to stay in the moment, because really, that's all we have.
And, seriously, I know it's been said, but it was his loss. He wasn't man enough to be with someone with brains, looks, compassion, uniqueness and curiosity about the world--because those things..those things never go out of style.

November 21, 2008 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

It does get easier. The trick is not to count down the months and wonder why you're not making as much progress as you think you should be. You've got an amazing support network, as proved by the amount of comments to this blog post. Remember that! Hope you're feeling better x

December 7, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

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