the last word

May 16, 2017

There are some of us who can be the bigger person – rise above the occasion and not let some sorry ass of a person bother us. And then there are those of us who love, love, love getting the last word. Getting in that last shot at the end of a fight is almost as satisfying as sleeping with someone for the first time. It’s the point at which you’ve quite literally come full circle. But is it worth it?

Until recently, I’ve never had a blow-out fight with an ex. The first man to break my heart didn’t even give me the chance to speak, so I ended up writing him a brutal letter and leaving it on his door step nearly five months after we broke up. Since I didn’t get the chance to say what I wanted to when he so eloquently dumped me over the phone (read: “I just don’t love you enough. But we had fun.”), I spent the better part of six months running away from heartbreak, dating random men, screwing a few of them, and all the while trying to process how someone who was supposed to love me could have thought of our relationship solely as “fun”. I held him when he cried over the death of a loved one, listened to him bitch about his daddy issues, and did everything I could to make him happy. But we only had “fun”. That letter I left him was me getting the last word. It was exactly the release I needed to let him go, and then I moved across the country.

To be fair, my move wasn’t solely about the break-up. The hard truth was I had to break-up with my home. In continuing to stay, I just felt more and more suffocated and anxious. My new home keeps me much more grounded. I moved here for a fresh start, and I had a whole new sea of men to fish from. Three months into my new life, I met someone who seemed perfect. He was emotionally intelligent! He was always actively trying to better himself! He had goals and a steady paycheck! Sure, he lived in his mother’s basement and was in his 30s saving for school, but he had aspirations. I was willing to look past the whole “I live with my mother” thing. After all, I was crashing with family too. (Note: I’m 23.)

Then five months down the line, right as I was starting to really fall, and this in spite of all the road bumps we’d endured – he decided he needed a “break”. He had to focus on his classes and work; he needed some time to evaluate his feelings about us. I was sitting at his feet trying to console him after our kickball team lost the championship game (because we’re adults and apparently still get sad over kickball), when he just threw this at me. That alone was enough to give him the upper hand. I was small and weak, and he was the man making the decision that he was going to put me – put us – on hold. He grabbed his things and he left. I cried into a pillow on my couch and wondered where I went wrong.

It’s been about a month since that day. A few days ago, we ended it in a blow-up fight over text. The only difference between that first night and this fight was that I was ready to go to war. But I wasn’t going to war for us – I was going to war for me. My gun was fully loaded and I fired every shot I could. I had never been so mad at someone. I felt betrayed and confused. I had promised myself after my first relationship that I’d never be a doormat again, and this time around, a doormat I was not. The conversation ended in me saying, “Fuck you. Don’t ever speak to me again.”

He’s like me though, he loves to get the last word. Half an hour after I sent that, he texted me again saying that I seriously needed to consider how I handled myself when shit hit the fan. He maintained that he’d never mistreated me or insulted my character. He was sorry for hurting me. I tried so hard to be the bigger person and ignore it, I really did. But 24 hours later I was still a mess over the fight, and still fuming at him for being so heartless. So I responded and told him that everything I’d said was true. He was selfish, and he’d never been emotionally available to me. I told him that if he didn’t think sleeping with someone one day and leaving them the next was mistreating them that I was seriously concerned for him. That a break in and of itself is mistreating someone. Anything he had to say to me meant absolutely nothing. And the truth is, it didn’t – and doesn’t. I just wanted the last word. I pressed send and felt like I’d won. I blocked his number after that; I didn’t want to know what he would fire back.

That was the thing about us. He always had to be right, and I got sick of letting him be. I’ll always maintain that how he handled things was wrong, but I hate that I think of him every time I drive by the movies or a restaurant we frequented. I hate that at night before bed I miss being able to lay on his chest and fall asleep. I hate that his sweatshirt now resides in my trashcan with an empty bottle of wine and the rest of his toiletries. I hate that he broke my heart, but somewhere deep down I know this was right. We were never going to work. We were always a mess. He had too much pride to be in love; he lacked compassion where I tried desperately to have it, and I was always the one giving more. There was no balance, there was only me trying to make something work that never would. In the end, I had fired so many shots I’d all but left him for dead. I know I got the last word in and he can’t contact me, but I don’t know that it was worth it. I know he doesn’t care about what I had to say. After all, he’s always right. Getting the last word in was solely for me. I felt stronger and more in control after I hit send. The weight of him having this power over me subsided. Maybe it was my turn to be selfish, but I guess sometimes in love and war, winning the smallest battle can make the biggest difference.

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