Relationship Sabbatical.

Via on Jul 16, 2011

“Last night I kissed someone for the first time in six months.”

My Six Month Relationship Sabbatical.

The positive side of being alone.

My last relationship was hell.

Well, it was heaven, then, quickly, weird, then, like watching yourself tumble off a cliff in slowmo, horrible. One month great, one weird, one horrible in which she dumped me something like 16 times over 40 days.

It was so bad my ex-gf prescribed ordered me to go to therapy. She talked shit about me all over town. I talked shit about her all over town. She prescribedordered me to go to meditation instruction. I’m still doing that, and the therapy, and grateful for both. And I’ve stopped talking shit (even if it’s true) for what it’s worth. I now no longer even say her name outloud.

So without going into sordid details, let’s just say that when she hates me she has one version of what-went-wrong, and another when she thinks of me fondly. And I have my version of things. That’s how tough relationships, or rather bad breakups, go. Par for the course.

As a part of our agreement to part ways, she told me, several times, that she didn’t think it appropriate for me to go out with anyone for a looonnng time. She said some of my relationships in the past had been inappropriate (a girl-dash-friend of mine pointed out that...she of all people is in no position to talk…but we’re not going into sordid details, remember, Waylon?). She said, twice, that if she saw me with someone…and then trailed off. I didn’t want to find out. More to the point, I didn’t want to put a young lady on the receiving end of my ex’s evident…er, disapproval…toward me.

So. I went single.

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I like single. It’s NBD. You can walk around naked and fart and make a mess and listen to Flogging Molly too loudly and come and go without coordinating shit, and you can eat what you want and meditate when you want to without someone blabbing at you and stretch out on the bed crossways and stay up until 3 a.m. working on your laptop in bed.

Photo via Reddit.

Loneliness is a powerful ally to entrepreneurs. In the six months since she-who-must-not-be-named and I broke up, I started working 14 hours a day. No hyperbole. Having nothing else to do but hang with my dog, I worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. And worked. 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And whenever I met a girl whom, under more happy skies, I might have liked, I kept walking. At some point in there, I described in painful detail every bit of my old relationship/breakup to my ma and asked her: Should I listen to my ex? Am I ready to go out with someone new? I feel paranoid that my ex will do something nutty to me and/or my hypothetical future girlfriend.

My mom, somewhat surprisingly, said, “Respect your paranoia. If you don’t feel safe, you’re not ready.”

So I stayed single. I’ve been single this long—intentionally—only one other time, about a year ago, just to see if I could be best friends with myself and deal with the loneliness. It wasn’t really a big deal—it was fun, you know?

So that’s been a lot of loneliness for this not-so-long-ago “Denver-area most eligible bachelor.” But like I said, I’m a happy workaholic. And, like every entrepreneur: broke.

Loneliness is an entrepreneur’s best friend. And broke is one hole I was psyched to climb up out of, for good. I’d been so broke a year and six months ago that when my dog stepped on something in the snow and was bleeding, I couldn’t do more than bandage him up myself—I had nothing in either bank account, work or debit. So broke that when I pay my mortgage on my only-recently-out-of-foreclosure home, it bounces once, and goes through the second time. Yo Waylon so broke that when the dishwasher broke, or two years ago at my New Year’s Party when a window got broke by a kid, or a random vandal rock got tossed through a stained glass window on my porch…they stayed broke. So I didn’t mind working. You can’t blog about sustainability and, at the ripe old age of 36.9, fail to have a sustainable business without feeling…well, as my ex liked to call me, fucking hypocritical you asshole!

But Winter left and Spring thawed my heart’s fearstress, if only slightly. I finally asked someone out, tentatively, a month ago. Got rejected, nicely: I have a boyfriend. Then I asked another girl out, same thing. I have a boyfriend. All the good ones do, I sighed. I was in no rush anyway. Work was going well, and after the Hiroshima/Nagasaki/Auschwitz/Mordor/Chernobyl/Six Mile Island/Katrina/Hindenburg that was my last relationship, I was a bit love-shy, anyway.

So, five months in, I returned to singlehood: “I’ll wait ’til I meet someone really sthpethal, and just, y’know, great to talk with on the phone for hours, someone who understands me and likes to do dishes, ’cause I suck at those.” No, seriously, just anyone hot who’s willing to make out with me.

Plus, the ex was still around—doing, er, strange things that I’m willing to list off and record in a lawyer’s office, but am not talking about publicly, unless I’m drunk or in a bad mood or it’s Wednesday. Suffice to say, it’s been endless. Her mood swings, in respect to myself, have been so consistently, repeatedly extreme as to cause spiritual whiplash.

Except that, fortunately, I’m no longer on that particular rollercoaster.

Because, remember, I was alone. And had been alone. For one two three four five months.

Make that, 5.9 months.

And then, just a week ago, I met a girl, a friend of a friend who I’d stopped to chat with downtown.

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Then I had to go, and said goodbye to everybody, getting the girl’s name wrong. I biked over to Saxy’s, where my 6 foot 5 cyclist/chocolatier pal Robbie works, and got to work on my laptop, and drank more coffee that I didn’t need.

A week later, my still coffee-soaked brain said, who was that girl?

I texted my acquaintance pal, asking what her friend’s deal was, and, if my acquaintance pal approved of me, if she’d let me ask her friend out. She did, and gave me her number. I asked her friend out: via text.

Driving back down from the Mountain Pose Yoga Fest, some pals of mine and I had a passionate argument about whether it was better to ask folks out via text or phone. I said phone puts people on the spot. I hate answering my phone, personally. I like text: no pressure, no awkwardness, it’s yes or no.

She said yes.

On our second date we got dinner with my friends Graham and Lauren, at Sherpa’s, a Nepalese/Tibetan joint, on the patio, with the sun shining and the bluegray clouds promising their daily rain, with my dog, and Sunshine with lemon. After our double date of sorts, my new friend and I went for a walk. We sat down on a bench. We went to a cafe. We went to a bar, got a drink. Her friend came n’met her toward the end. I left, said goodbye and walked out into the dark night…where my dog was being adorable, sitting up on top of a picnic table. So I popped back into the bar and told her to come out and check out my dorky little doggie. In the dark by the picnic table, I saw that she wanted me to kiss her. I obliged.

And when our lips touched it was as if the greatest lhasang in the world was lit. The sky opened up light blue, and the sunshine touched the flowers and the bees woke up and all this painful, difficult, crazy, sad six months suddenly became a chapter, closed, a tear, mended. And for the first time in six months I not only wished that my ex-gf would be happy and fulfilled in her own life—I forgot about her.

It was 11pm. At midnight, I turned 37.

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23 Responses to “Relationship Sabbatical.”

  1. DaveTelf says:

    atta boy!

    • Jon says:

      Atta boy what? This article is the rant of insane person.

      • DaveTelf says:

        atta boy for my friend gettin a smooch on his birthday.
        atta boy for publicly calling out an insane person who has been disrupting my friend's life for too long.
        atta boy for a well-written article that is super-personal but also heartfelt, interesting and, apparently, controversial.
        a preemptive atta boy to counterbalance all the people who get their jollies off anonymously hating on Waylon.
        and an atta boy to you Jon, for reading and leaving a comment!

  2. Chelsea Roff Chelsea says:

    Aaaaw, Waylon, you got your birthday kiss. Big smile :-)

    The longer you’re single the less lonely it feels. In fact, I almost wonder if committed people are more prone to loneliness because they tend to isolate themselves from friends and community. I can’t even remember what not being single feels like, but I’m not complaining. I like the single life.

    Six months is a blink of an eye… hope you don’t settle for just any pretty girl that comes along. I’m glad you got your kiss though. The heart heals in its own time.

  3. laura says:

    Kudos! Good luck.

    p.s.
    Don’t work so hard. ;)

  4. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Lovely. Great writing too. Here's to lots more kisses and lots more birthdays :)

  5. Andrew Sweeny says:

    Nice article. Question? Have you really forgot your ex? Because remembering that you forgot is still remembering. Or more deeply, can anyone every forget anyone who caused so much pleasure/pain. And can you talk about your ex with your present girlfriend without her smashing up your furniture? Does it every heal, or is love by definition an open wound? Apologies, Andrew

  6. Marlynn West says:

    Wishing you a:
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Love
    Happy Life
    ~Blessings~
    Marlynn

  7. Absolutely honest and adorable…… Happy Birthday….. :)

  8. heather says:

    So I read your writing and your offerings on your amazing site all the time…
    You make me think, you make me laugh (thank you for both of those by the way).
    I love this piece – it's lovely and open and honest and raw and pouring and hopefullll.
    Happy Birthday!!
    It sounds like 37 is off to a great start for you!
    Also, to relieve the money issue, consider writing like this all the time and turning it into a book!

  9. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Angie O Try three years. I had to go cry.

    #
    Lily M this is wonderful and beautiful. man, you worked a lot!!!! :)

    #
    Lily M and….happy birthday!! :)

    #
    Jaime T Awwwww! You're too sweet, Waylon! Cheering you on from this side of the world. :)

    #
    Harusami Wow, over 6 years here… unless you count my dog.

    #
    Harmony O excellent article–you gave me some insight on a few of my past relationships, actually. and i especially liked the larry david "stop and chat" segment. so thank you!

    #
    elephantjournal.com Great blog Way! Happy birthday dude, and er, I hope you get lots more kisses. Hell, if I wasn't in Europe, I'd give you one myself (a kiss). All the best mate. Ben

    #
    Wen T Lovely writing – light-hearted yet poignant at the same time.

    #
    Candice J
    Am there right now (the long hiatus). Interesting that for many of us, this hiatus happens in our late 30s+ — we're finally mature enough to know that merely finally find someone who's willing to date us doesn't indicate that we're ready f…or a relationship. I do believe that if we allow ourselves the time for inner work, when we're ready to add someone to our lives, we just know. And in the adding, I'm not saying that it's for sure going to work. Rather, we'll know if we're ready to date someone and maturely accept whatever happens.

    #
    Godina F i agree Candice the long hiatus but yoga and meditation makes you see the fence green on the other side. isnt it :)

    #
    Michelle S Aw

    #
    Angela F That's nothin'. It's been nearly six years for me.

    #
    Sue H nearly 3 years here

    #
    Patrick A This helped make my morning, particularly since my own relationship explosion this year. All thus sounded familiar. Good for you! Everyone pulls the short straw in life at times….

  10. kurlykim says:

    Beautiful! x

  11. Andrea Balt Andrea B. says:

    Loved this. Thank you, Waylon. Funny, irreverent, touching. I'm quickly becoming a loyal fan of both you and Elephant.

  12. Jenny P says:

    Waylon Lewis…. "the man"

  13. [...] I’ll thank my past lovers for being among my greatest teachers, and (with the occasional relationship sabbatical) get my heart broke up again, and again, in different [...]

  14. lindsaymcclure says:

    Good start to year 37 Way :] really loved this.

  15. Paula says:

    Seems like you're slandering your ex pretty intensely here. That doesn't seem very helpful for you guys. It seems quite provocative and wound-opening. If you genuinely wish for your ex-gf to be happy, why are you hurting her publicly by writing this?

  16. Boulder says:

    What wouldn't I give to have a websites where I could write about my ex girlfriends. What a privilege Waylon. What a responsibility. And don't you work so hard.

  17. Boulder says:

    "website" not "websites" – so sorry that you had to read that.

  18. China Royale says:

    Maaan I loved every single word, minute of this article…Maaan…loneliness = productivity!!! I haven't been this productive in months!!! I am now sooooo waiting for the first kiss!!! And sooo waiting for the "who was that again?" point in my life. Awe-some!!! And worked, and worked and worked!!! Incubation turned to procrastination and then into production….wow can't even think about what last January, February, March…..June were like!!!

    Thanks for this post and all my other friends thank you!!!

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