Monday, December 20, 2010

Entry 117: Juanita And Bert: Part III

Breakups are rarely pretty.  Whether it's one side agonizing over what was lost or a long series of "it's complicated" hookups after the breakup, these things are rarely amicable, peaceful, or fun. 

That being said, in the world of pathetic breakups, I nominate for the "lamest breakup behavior of 2010" award the saga of Juanita and Bert.  I wrote the story back in April (yes, fucking APRIL) but a shitstorm of new happenings have pushed this saga into 'epic' territory.  You can read the original stories HERE (part 1) and HERE (part 2) , but the basic story is as follows:

They date for 10 years, live together, she's miserable, he cheats, they break it off, he gets all mopey, he sends volumes of emails and texts that put the 1,100 page health care bill to shame.

Since then, he has sent a sporadic email or text (especially if it's raining- the guy seems to really get reflective when it rains) but nothing major.  It is now 8 months (read: FUCKING 8 MONTHS) later and this weekend must have been a monsoon somewhere, because he sent a metric shit-ton of communication to Juanita recently. 

First, you might be wondering if Juanita blocked his number and email address. Yes and yes.  Somehow he found a way through the filters this weekend and got his sob-storm through to her.

Second, you might be wondering what she's been up to.  Well, about 4 months (or so- I don't pay attention well) ago she met a guy on a dating site and they've been ridiculously (read: annoyingly) happy together.  It probably deserves it's own post for two reasons: 1) they met online where successes are rare and douches abound, and 2) their first month or so together involved going to two events where they both went ballz-to-the-wall on costumes.  Yes, as in dressing up as movie characters for nerd events.  Sigh.

Juanita had pretty much forgotten about Bert when he found his way through the filters and launched a Blitzkrieg attack on her media devices.  Over one weekend Bert sent more than 6 lengthy emails, 20 texts, and called numerous times- leaving 5 or 6 voicemails.  Yes.  You read that right.  I've read through many of the emails and texts myself (to my chagrin).  

What's odd about this is that she has never responded.  Not once.  So in most of his emails, there is a sentence like this: [actual examples]
"Obviously, you didn't choose to respond to my other email..."
"I know you want to be left alone, but I'm finding this very hard."
"You obviously aren't going to respond, so I'm making this my last chance to be as clear as possible..."

*Note about that last quote- no, it was far from the last thing he sent

On the one hand it seems extra torturous to ignore this whining and pleading without ever acknowledging that it's been read or noticed, but on the other hand: fuck it.  Juanita is moved-on and living, and distractions like this- while hilarious- can get annoying quickly.  

If you read the original story, you'll see that I noted how narcisistic Bert is in his writing.  I even counted up the number of times he uses "I" or "Me" as compared to "You or "us" just to give an example of his self-centered worldview.  I randomly grabbed the first email I saw of his and counted the number of "I"s in the first paragraph: 23.  I don't even know if it's possible to write about yourself that much on purpose, let alone if you were trying to convince someone to talk to you. 

Since I have so much material I was planning on putting a few bits and pieces out there for you to see as examples, but I'm sure you can imagine what kind of whiny ex-crap it is.  We've all probably  seen (or written) some of it ourselves.  Though, one particular beginning of an email caught my eye:

"At this point, I have absolutely no chance at being cool about this..."

Which I thought was funny since I'm pretty sure "that point" waved bye-bye to Bert a long time ago.  

Yes, Bert is dragging down the manliness of men everywhere through his shemanigans, but rather than continuing to mock him for this (not that he doesn't deserve it) I thought it might be better to reflect. 

Many of us have experienced loss, experienced heartache, and know what it feels like to have inconsolable grief in our hearts.  It's experiences like that where we learn empathy and pity, and learn to value the emotions of others rather than simply only what we ourselves experience.  There's nothing wrong with that, and perhaps it's okay to feel a little bad for Bert and what he's going through.  

But at what point does the credit line for pity run out?  This has been nearly a year now with no talks, no interactions, nothing.  Juanita is happier than ever and living her life well, though she went through her share of grief getting to this point.  What's holding Bert back from moving forward in life?

Without going into any sort of a psycho-analysis here, I think I have the beginnings of an answer.  When we listen to our self-centered impulses and think of ourselves as deserving of everything we want, it's hard to deal with a situation where we can't have what we want.  No matter what.  We all have a bit of this ego in us, so try to imagine for yourself something you want terribly and with more passion than anything else- and now imagine that you can't have it.  No matter what you do, say, change about yourself; no matter how you try and atone, no matter who you talk to or what actions you take- all your powers are useless and you're left not getting what you want. 

Frustrating.   Especially if you were raised to always get everything you want because you were just that darn special.  Can you imagine what it's like the first time in your entire life you are denied what you want?  It sounds ridiculous to most of us who have learned to be happy with what we have, or learn from mistakes and move on, or how to not paralyze ourselves with self-defeating behavior- but take a small piece of empathy for this situation and expand it out to its extreme edges.   When I do this I see that in an abstract and distant way, I can almost relate.  I find that I have a "if I really wanted it, I could have it" attitude and have mostly lived my life without testing that theory.  Maybe "I just didn't want it that bad" is my main excuse.

Who knows what will happen when I (or any of you) perhaps one day face that situation.  I'd like to assume that I would act with more grace and dignity than Bert, but predicting something like that is like predicting how scared you'll be skydiving- you just don't know. 

In the meantime, perhaps we can learn some lessons from Bert.  Maybe he's really doing us all a favor by going through this first, that we might see him and empathize with him just enough to get a fair warning on future frustrations in our own lives. 

Or maybe he's just a whiny crybaby who is throwing a fit because he can't get what he wants. 

Either way, hope you enjoy reading about this story! 

Caleb "hope it stops raining and snowing for J and B's sake" Shreves


  1. You're crazy but I'm in. I'm your newest follower from link-up, link up back to


  2. My theory (which might not always be true and might sound cold) is that people in Bert's situation want to remain locked in that place for some reason. I agree that it sucks to be unable to get the one thing which you want, but after a bit it generally pays off to try to talk yourself out of wanting it (unless it's something like food or air) - but something in Bert prefers to stay in this cycle. Maybe he's become addicted to self-pity or has gotten so used to thinking of himself as "the unlucky guy" that he doesn't want to risk trying a different way of being.

  3. Is Bert's nickname Greg or James because I swear, this poor sap is as bad as my last two ex's.

    I've been trying for the last 15 minutes to add a comment to this from my crackberry, but no such luck.

    Caleb, I applaud you for bringing this time of assinine post-break up behavior to light.

    WTF is wrong with some of you guys when it comes to being able to let go? Sure, women probably do it to in one way or another, but I have literally been stalked via text, voicemail and e-mail. I'm not talking a few days or a few months, but in the case of the most extreme tard type of behavior, TWO years after a break up.

    In fact, you're inspiring me to post "When the Ex Calls". Honestly, I don't think there's any reason to start dipping back and contacting ANYONE you're no longer with unless you have a child together.

    What's burning me up here is wondering - is Bert a good friend of yours? If so, I want to fuss at you for not talking some SENSE into this loser and letting him know that he's an embarassment to the cause.

    You touched on a nerve with this one, because I've been the Juanita. In fact, just recently (I believe right after the November elections), I'd been contacted by one of mine - I don't get it, because the last time he DARED to do it, I told him I wanted nothing more to do with him and explained nothing about him was missed. Not his xxx addiction, his tiny appendage, his morning breath or his pms. Still, he calls!

    What gives???

  4. Thanks for the follow and comment. Wayne Dyer:
    “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about.” Cooool! X

  5. Thanks Shah- you's a Wayne fan?

    Matt- good thoughts. I think you've got a good point! Sometimes even if you don't talk yourself out of something, you can say "I may WANT this thing I can't have, but I WANT MORE to be a normal, happy, and dignified person. And that's something you CAN have (cuz it's up to you, ya know).

    Carmen- get postin'! I'd like to read about it. 2 years? I'll be sure to tell Juanita she's not out of the clear!(and in fact may barely be at the halfway point...)
    No, Bert is not my friend, but Juanita is. But I've had other "Berts" for friends and, sadly, there IS no talking sense into them. I used to blame women for making men crazy, but have since changed my mind. At least in some cases.

  6. Sorry, I don't think women can take the blame for the irrational behavior men demonstrate after a break up. And yes - 2 years and no, I've done absolutely nothing to encourage it. Literally, out of the blue, he will feel the need to contact me and pour out his heart of how badly he messed up, yadda yadda yadda.

    You Bert is truly special and not in an endearing way. There should be a nationwide dating APB for some men and women warning others about them.

    I'm just sayin....