Sometimes I wonder if Paul aka my own “Jake Gyllenhaal”ever felt this.Probably not. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 19 and he was 29. He honestly had no business dating a teenager but to him I was mature for my age cause I had a kid. He loved the passion and excitement I brought at the beginning but left cause he didn’t have the emotional bandwidth at the time when I wanted to be treated as something more than an easy and convenient snack. When the “All Too Well” 10 minute version came out, I felt like whoa this song is way too relatable. And it wasn’t because of my most recent breakup; it was because of unresolved trauma from Paul. It was me revisiting a traumatic time in my life where there was a strange power dynamic with this divorced man who had tons of more life experience than I did. Also, like the “Jake” in the “All Too Well” video he was all about the “fuck the patriarchy, I love strong women vibe” UNTIL that strong woman demands to be treated better, until that strong woman holds him accountable for his actions. People may say “oh you read too much into a casual relationship” but this mutherfucker was meeting my parents and son within the first two weeks of dating me. Tell me how this looks like to an impressionable 19 year old young adult confused and looking for love.
I remembered when he brought me around his friends and it was kind of embarrassing that I couldn’t drink with them due to my age. I should have seen the first red flag when he told me that the major reason for his divorce was that his ex-wife was “crazy” and he painted himself as the victim. I should have seen the second red flag when he told me “not to fall in love with him” when we were having sex for the first time. After maybe 6 weeks, we were suppose to spend Valentine’s Day together and he never showed up.Instead of picking up the phone and letting me know he wasn’t going to make it, he sent me an email the next day with some bullshit excuse and telling me “not to be mad at him”. At 19 almost 20 years old, I had the maturity to understand that he wasn’t making me a priority when I was making him one and I had to speak up. I understood something was changing as he grew even more distant from me and I tried to accommodate to what he needed even if it hurt And then after one week, he killed me with an email. He didn’t even think I was worth a phone call.
Later on he contacted me about wanting to be friends. And I, thinking it was the mature thing to do and still wanting to please this person that I had grown attached to and cared for, accepted this offer of pseudo friendship. Yes, this dude had kill the very essence of my soul with an email (not thinking I was worth a phone call) and I was still trying to reassure his ego by remaining friends. I did this as I cried at night wondering why I wasn’t good enough. I faked this friendship as my heart was breaking wondering how I always get stuck with these confused boys whose “intentions were never to hurt me” but somehow always do in such a way that I end up losing myself. I did this as I would throw up every time after I got off the phone with him.To add insult to injury, he accused me of giving him an STD shortly even though he had also been sleeping with his ex wife ( either cheating on me or very shortly after we broke up). During the time I was with him, it was only him and I had never given him reason to think differently. Did my sexual passion or my Latinidad give him a pass to judge and slut shame me? The things he had gone crazy over suddenly transformed me into a whore in front of his eyes. I handled that whole situation with grace, went to get tested for his peace of mind, was slut shamed by the nurse who did the testing. Still remained in contact with him and yes, this friendship was just a ruse to have access to sex with me again if things didn’t work out with his ex wife. I found out months later when he asked me to dinner and we slept together. I remember feeling disgusted and ashamed of myself cause I felt nothing and very numb the entire time we had sex in the parking lot of a church (yes-he was a super classy guy-lol). After that, he disappeared. It feels like a life time ago and yet a few of those unhealthy patterns emerged again in my love life in October of that same year (“S” aka the great breakup of 2001) and in other relationships throughout my adult life. Lol. I wish I could say that the chapter of Paul ended after he disappeared but it didn’t.
He messaged me through myspace sometime around 2005 even though he was married at the time. Me, trying to be polite chatted with him for a couple of weeks. In March of 2020, he also messaged under the ruse of friendship and as we were chatting he sends this message:
I hadn’t talked to him since April of 2020 BUT I didn’t feel closure from this situation so I reached out to him on November 14th of this year and sent him this message:
After sending this message, I proceeded to block him. And honestly, I felt this great sense of relief and closure. It really bothered me that I didn’t stand up for myself at the time and he basically got away feeling like he was a “good or nice guy” in the situation and I let him continue to objectify me out of the facade of being polite. I will also say that while revisiting this was traumatic; it made me also reflect something. For example, how reactive I am when certain similar situations in my life have occurred. If I feel slut shamed, judged or objectified; I explode in a fit of anger and rage. I don’t do this all of the time because I’ve learned to ignore and process those situations in a healthy manner, however, if my emotional bandwidth isn’t there, LOOK OUT! That being said, as weird as it sounds, I’m glad that I got I revisit this traumatic experience in my life because I needed to truly heal from it and closure. Also, I don’t plan to reach out like this to all of my exes, I have mostly healed and gotten closure from most of my breakups; but I do have to say that certain relationships have marked me and there are certain unhealed parts of those relationships I haven’t healed from that need to be addressed. This might look like reaching out to them or writing a blog or another poem about them.
7 thoughts on “Story Time: Paul aka my own Jake Gyllenhaal”
I am glad you’re healing and it’s so great to read you were taking charge of that for yourself — this sounded like a really difficult experience to go through (sounds quite similar in some ways to things I experienced when I was younger). Thank you for sharing this — I have no doubt someone reading who is going through the same or recognizes the red flags, etc will benefit from this. Thank you for sharing this.
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Thank you for your comment. I hope the same thing. This was a traumatic experience but I hope that by writing it and posting it, people are able to relate.
I have a this guy. He stayed in touch for 8 years and all of those eight years I hoped I meant something more to him than being an object. Ted flags were all over the place. I didn’t have your resolve. When the reality hit me I fell to pieces. I have been reluctant yo see it as a trauma because of that belief “ weeelll I put myself in that situation.” But that’s what it was. A severe emotional trauma. I’m working on closure knowing the other party won’t apologize to me in the a way I need to hear it. I really appreciate this post. It’s pretty validating for me. I hope you are still healing and staying strong
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