I don’t know if it’s the same for guys, but there’s nothing quite like getting dumped to bring on a severe case of the crazies in an otherwise normal, rational, intelligent woman.
A million years ago when I parted ways with my first love (who shall from here on out be referred to as ‘Jerk’, since ‘Asshole’ is not acceptable language for print), I spent two months crying and doing all-hour drive bys on The Jerk’s apartment. I’m not sure what I was looking for exactly. I remember crawling past at a snail’s pace, craning my neck to see if his lights were on and anyone was home, then turning around at the end of the block and driving back up the road again. I was nineteen, I was heartbroken, please don’t judge me.
I later found out he moved out of that apartment a week after we broke up, which might explain a) the thirty year old woman with the young baby who was suddenly always on his balcony, and b) why, come to think of it, I never actually caught a glimpse of him there again.
After getting dumped, a friend of mine, who is probably the smartest, most rational, together woman I know, tried to break into her ex-boyfriend’s home to make a big romantic gesture, and somehow managed to get her head wedged in the security gate. She had to wait a mortifying two hours for him and his housemates to get home from a party so they could free her. See, one moment she was normal, then she got dumped and became an instant lunatic.
More recently I was dumped by Mr Perfect when he decided to get back together with his ex girlfriend. About three weeks after he dumped me I got hit by a severe case of the crazies and I decided to call him, even though every ounce of my common sense was screaming ‘back away from the telephone’. But all the crazy voices drowned out the one sane one and so slowly, with a feeling of hopeful foreboding I dialled his number.
We spoke politely for a couple of minutes, and then when I felt I wasn’t quite getting the response I was hoping for I unleashed the crazy. A little emotional, I laid my feelings out on the line and demanded to know how he felt. Pathetic, I know, but I plead temporary insanity. When I was finally finished with my tirade there was a pause on the other end of the line so big you could have filled it with Newlands stadium. ‘Well! What do you think?’ I demanded. ‘Actually,’ he said, ‘I can’t talk right now, I have friends over and we just sat down for lunch.’
And there it was, I realised I had made a fatal mistake – The Rash And Foolish Post Break-Up Phone Call. I’m still not sure what I was expecting from the call. Perhaps a massive change of heart on his behalf, or maybe an apology and a bit of begging for my eternal forgiveness? I was insane to expect either. The shrinks tell us that there are a series of basic stages of grief we have to work through when loss rocks our world. Shock, denial, whisky, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance, shopping and then ultimately hope.
I think the crazy things we do after a break up fall somewhere between denial and bargaining. We tell ourselves this can’t be happening and try think of things we can do to breathe life into the deceased relationship. All that desperation doesn’t help either, and is probably why we send smses at 4am, or call and then hang up when they answer, or find ourselves with a 100m restraining order.
Then there’s the guilt afterwards. Why did I do that stupid thing? Why did I call him, now he really won’t want me back. And then the anger: jerk, idiot, doos, why didn’t he tell me he had friends over at the beginning of the call so I could have saved myself the embarrassment. And then the depression stage, the more whisky stage, the hangover stage, the acceptance stage, the screw everyone and dent your credit card stage, and then ultimately the hope stage. In this case hope comes in the form of: I really hope I don’t get another case of the crazies and find myself with my head wedged in the security gate at Mr Perfect’s house.