{August 9, 2007}   My Birthday Break-up

When it comes to birthdays, 22 is a forgettable number. But I’ll never forget mine. I broke up with my First True Love.

He was amazing. He was my fourth boyfriend after a messy break with my abusive third. He treated me far better than anyone ever had. Except he couldn’t commit to me.

My First True Love is European. I met him when he was a grad student in New York. I knew he had a contract for a job here. At the end of March—five months into our love affair—he revealed he planned to move back to Europe. It could be as soon as September or as late as January. He wasn’t sure, he said. It depended on the company. But he doubted he’d win his transfer as soon as September. In May, he did.

What ensued was a long back-and-forth about “us”. He had been in a long distance relationship before and it didn’t work. “It never works,” he told me repeatedly. I—the hopeless romantic—believed he and I could do it.

He graduated and went to Europe for the summer. I went to visit him. We spent both an amazing and trying ten days together. It felt like a test to see if I could live there. It was much harder than I expected.

He came back to New York in August for his job training after two months away. I knew our relationship had problems. But I knew the biggest problem was that he couldn’t commit to a relationship after this month. And I knew that meant he didn’t like me as much as I liked him.

I had been gearing up to break up with him for a couple weeks. I knew I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t reciprocate my feelings, and nothing changed when he landed in August. After going through an abusive relationship, I know what I deserve. I deserve someone who is sure about me. I deserve someone who won’t make me feel horrible for days at a time because they’re unsure about me. I deserve to be treated like a queen. And my FTL did—except for all his uncertainty. As my mother said, “That’s a big except.”

So on my 22nd birthday, when he still wasn’t sure, I showed him the door. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, though made easier by the fact that he gave me The Worst Gift Ever (more on that later). But I had to do it. Because I made a promise to myself after going through years of abuse that I wouldn’t put up with bad treatment. I will only be with someone who treats me like a queen—no excepts allowed.


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