Addicted to Drama with music and everything

I been starin’ at your photograph
Wondering where you’re at today
And I’ve been hanging by the telephone
Hopin’ that you’d come home and stay

You told me you needed
More walks, more talks
More feelin’ close to me
I wanna be close to you

I didn’t know you needed
Some roses, some romance
A little candlelight and slow dance
That’s not how it’s been
But maybe we can try again
Try, try, maybe we can try again

Try Again by Champaign (R&B song circa 1980?)

I heard this song today and I remembered that this was the ex’s and my song. It’s a nice song but it’s the perennial breakup and makeup song…”I could search the whole world over and never find what you’ve always given me….”

It’s what I wanted to hear…that he FINALLY realized that he could search the whole world over and never find what I had given him.

He was great with the “I heard this song and thought of you….” and he had a good voice and would sing to me a lot.

We spilt up in 1978 and he came back and sang Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England.” When will our eyes meet? When will I touch you? When will I see you again?

Of course my heart just went all a pitter and a patter because if you know the song it builds to a great crescendo (as did my life) and ends with a great flourish (not so much my life). But all that glitters is not gold. I did not know that then. DUH.

Today I heard Try Again and was thinking, “WHAT was I thinking???”

I mean, HOW many times do you get suckered in by the same old song?

How many times was he searching the world over? Idiot.

As I suggested in my previous post, my ex and I had a huge blowup when we attended a Southside Johnny concert in September of 1986 and Johnny gave me his harmonica a few songs from the end. The irony of the situation was that “Hearts of Stone” was another “breakup/makeup” song of ours and back in the beginning, when he was just a boyfriend, his jealousy over my obsession with the Jersey sound guys (at that time Bruce [who was not yet BRUCE] and Southside) was insane. Over the years he came to like it and we had seen both Bruce and SSJ many times together. But we had a rough summer where I realized I had been blamed for everything that was not my fault, dawn was beginning to break over Marblehead, and the SSJ concert was kind of the last straw. He could sleep with other women and smack me in the head whenever he felt like it, but I couldn’t get a harmonica from someone I had followed for over 10 years (at that time). The Great Harmonica Incident became part of my breakup folklore (and SSJ figures in the Preface of GBOT in a couple of ways…ha!) but there is really only one friend, with whom I am no longer friends, who knows the whole and complete story. But I remember her saying, “You’re leaving over a harmonica?” That was September and I tried to file for divorce in October but he talked me into staying while not ruining the holidays for the kids.

I have been remarried now for 10 years. We have never broken up once and my husband has never dedicated an “oh jeez I just realized I love you” song to me or really any song…no argument we’ve ever had would rise to the level of needing a song to go with it. When we were going out we used to do a goofy little dance in the car to “Walking on Sunshine” (ssssshhhh, don’t tell anyone…hubby is a Harley ridin’ tough Vietnam vet type…don’t tell anyone that my rendition of Katrina and the Waves makes him laugh).

But seriously…my first husband and I were in the dramatic breakup and make up mode for so many years…it was what we DID…we could have received Oscars for it (maybe Grammys even)….we did the slow and sorrowful “Oh I was so wrong…what was I thinking?” and then we would be back in the pits again…and the pits HURT SO MUCH…and then the relief came in the form of “OH I WAS SO WRONG! Let’s NOT EVER DO THIS AGAIN!” and so it went.

We would be fighting, fighting, fighting, then not-talking-not-talking-not talking and then some switch would go off (or on) and he would get all doe eyed and teary eyed and say, “I had a dream about you last night…you were leaving me…and I couldn’t bear it…” and perhaps break into a operatic solo. To which I would try to stay strong and since he was “on the ropes” let him know how much he hurt me…have him grovel in fact…and get whatever vengeance I could get and perhaps request a couple of more Manilow songs….”Maaaaaaaaaandee…..”

Oh yes, my name wasn’t Mandy…but it was the thought that counted….and so I fed into it…thought I was making him hurt about hurting me and we were going to put this thing together right once and for all and it was going to be GRAND.

Grand I tell you.

Only no one changed anything and therefore (tah-dah!) nothing changed.

And we beat our two stupid heads against that same brick wall until we were bloody and bruised and had to separate and divide up 2 houses, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a cat.

AND WE WERE BREAKING UP LIKE THIS FOR TEN YEARS BEFORE THE FAMOUS FINAL SCENE.

I don’t know about him, but I was, truth be told, ADDICTED to this breakup and makeup pattern and too scared to be alone and too cognizant of the fact that I would have a lot of CRAP to work out if we ever split.

He finally found a girlfriend who was stupider than me (yes, we were still married but that didn’t seem to matter and she wasn’t the first) and she hung out while we struggled through the end, split up and then got back together ONE MORE TIME (I only did it to prove I could, I was getting healthier at that point and he was no fun to play with anymore).

But while he was giving her some crap line about “I need to try to work this out for my kids” and she was falling for it (good luck to her…you won the grand prize baby!!!)

I was thinking, “I don’t care how many songs he sings, he’s not coming back.” because I was in therapy now and putting my life together.

So we danced around for a while longer (how musical we were) BUT I was not doing the same dance I always did and he got pissed off and went back to her (probably saying, “I was DREAMING about you!” to her because he was not very creative and hey, it worked for years on ME)…and I got on with my life.

She won the brass ring…TEE HEE…and she can keep him…drama and all.

Today it’s hard for me to imagine that I fell for some nocturnal thoughts and a couple of mix tapes. I mean COME ON.

I know it was my “stuff”. I know I got so much out of the drama and that I had deep deep wounds that needed to be expressed and since I couldn’t deal with them directly…I acted out and gravitated toward people who acted out…


Fast forward 20 years…I’m sane and happy and have a happy marriage. The ex is still blaming everything on everyone but him.

The kids don’t speak to him and it’s my fault or their fault or someone’s fault but not his. But my boys are healthy and happy and that is all I care about. When they spoke to their father every now and again, he would call and tell them he was dreaming about them (well, it worked on me so what the hell). My boys would say, “So why didn’t you pick up the phone?” They weren’t getting all ga-ga about “I was dreaming about you” and going, “Oh gee…(SIGH)….you were DREAMING about me! How great a father are you!!!” No, they didn’t fall for it. Not falling for words without action. Not falling for form with no substance. The line just DID NOT work on them.

My boys and I are close and they each call me at least once a week, if not more. If I don’t hear from one because he’s gotten busy, I call him up and say, “Remember me? I’m your mother.” and they will say, “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t call, but I was DREAMING of you.” 🙂

I find it funny that they can joke about this. I never thought it was funny…but they saw right through the melodramatics because they weren’t raised with it and have no stomach for it.

It all seems so silly to me now.

But once upon a time I fell for the songs, for the pithy sayings, for the dramatic scenes, both making up and breaking up. I got into trying to WIN him from some other woman and now I realize that letting someone else have him was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. They’re made for each other.

Misery doesn’t love company, it demands it.

Being addicted to the drama of bad relationships is NOT an easy thing to break out of. I had to do my own work, avoid the drama and chaos and learn to make peace with the peace. It’s not easy but afterwards, life becomes so rich, so rewarding and so PLEASUREABLE!!!

If you get carried away by the song dedications and the sweet nothings, think again: LOVE IS AN ACTION. Love is what you DO, not what you SAY (or sing).

Life is not a musical and a cute turn of a phrase is not going to see you through hard times. You need someone who steps in and steps up EVERY SINGLE DAY. and you need to be able to enjoy your life. Life is not mountains and valleys, it’s much more even than that.

Step out of the drama and step into your life.


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