Don’t Waste the Pretty


I promised an enlightening story upon the return from my first REAL vacation in over five years.  Well, here is what you’re going to get.  Getting away for a week was FABULOUS.  The grass was greener (literally, with a drought in the Midwest, their grass, plants, flowers were flourishing while ours, well, weren’t), the plants fuller, flowers bright and beautiful.  Even a rainy afternoon couldn’t get me down.  There was still morning sun, intriguing restaurants to try, oh, and shopping.


But what has followed in the week or so AFTER my vacation is what has really been consuming my mind.  Remember that guy from my first post – 30 Things?  Well, he had a bad attitude most of the trip.  Was cranky, irritable.  As a self-proclaimed pessimist, this was a struggle for me to deal with.  I had to always find the bright side to the situation.  Make excuses like, well, this is the most time we’d spent together in MONTHS, and 24/7 with ANYONE for 8 days is a trying situation (which I still believe to be true – we all need our space and time to ourselves if only to decompress, reflect).

Upon our return, I went days without hearing from him.  Until he told me he was depressed and didn’t feel good about how he was treating me.  This is nothing new.  I expected this.  But only 5 days after taking a vacation together (which is a first for us and what I consider a BIG step), he told me he couldn’t be in a relationship and couldn’t support me or treat me the way I deserve.  I am not here to bash him.  I respect that he recognized this and didn’t want to put me through it anymore.  He asked how much longer I could put up with his shit.

This is a tough one.  Because, the statistics show that I am a fool.  This makes the sixth time he has either left and/or broken things off with me in over 2 ½ years.  All I can say is, I won’t be done with this, or him, until I’m really DONE.  My bullshit tolerance/threshold must be higher than most.  I will know when I’m fed up and the feelings have faded.  I’m not there yet.  In the meantime, it’s been almost 4 days with no contact of any kind.

I am distracting myself with work, a day or two here and there with friends (my schedule doesn’t allow too much social time), and re-reading/glancing through my handy copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.  I’ve highlighted passages, and re-reading the tips in the book helps.  It’s like an older brother and sister who know better and are encouraging me not to give up the fight.

I would like to share a passage from this book for reinforcement and to hopefully encourage some other ladies out there who are or have dealt with this same thing themselves.  I know you’re out there.

He’s sniffing around for something better, and when he doesn’t find it, he gets lonely and comes ‘home.’ It’s not that he’s so into you.  It’s that he’s so not into being alone.  Don’t give him the chance to break up with you for the fourth time.  (God, even the idea of it sounds so beneath you, doesn’t it?) Reset your breakup maximum to one and move on.” (Behrendt and Tuccillo p. 99)

This is so much easier said than done.  The last time, about 4 months ago, it only took about a week for him to show up, call, text, say he’d f**ked up and I was the best thing that had ever happened to him.  I was just about done then.  I knew we DID need time apart, if this, or anything else was ever going to be healthy or work out the way we both wanted it to.  A week wasn’t long enough.

My biggest fear THIS time is that he won’t give me, himself, or us enough time to FEEL single, to embrace the loneliness, the boringness of spending most of our time without a companion or significant other.  I believe he IS and CAN BE the person I want, the man who treats me with affection and consideration and is there for me, through it all.  But it’s not fair to either of us to fall back into this breakup/make-up pattern.

I’ve been through this before.  Actually spent 4 years involved with a guy who broke up with me, but we never took a “break.”  I asked a friend why it was so hard for certain guys to break up with me.  She said it was because I leave the door open to them.  And she’s right.  I know I’ve got to close the door, at least temporarily.  I’m not quite there yet.  But I am the sum of my small steps.

Another friend advised, just from the details of the situation, that he could have been cheating, since the things he was saying exactly mimicked the excuses she’d gotten in a past relationship, only to find he had been cheating.  I don’t believe that.  I believe it IS possible, but in this particular instance, I don’t think that was the case.  But she did make a good point which was then reiterated in my re-perusing of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”  He might not have been strong enough to end things, to tell me to leave.  So, he was leaving the option up to me.  That’s where my flaws come in.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t do it before, with the guy of 4 years. Not until I was finally DONE myself.  I couldn’t do it now.

One more related quote: “A guy friend of mine refuses to break up with a woman he’s engaged to because he’s scared.  (Yes, we’re a classy species.)  When I beg the guy to pull the plug, he always says the same thing: ‘Greg, I’m waiting for the big fight.  I’m just waiting for the big fight.’ In the meantime, he picks on, bickers with, needles his fiancée, just so he can have the ‘big fight’ and get it over with.  It’s not pretty, but I hope it scares you just a bit.  100% of the guys polled said they have never tried to torture or humiliate a girl they were really into.  Well, that’s a start.”  (Behrendt and Tuccillo p. 147)

I’m confident that I won’t fall back into old habits, at least where he isn’t involved.  I won’t drink away my pain with alcohol.  I won’t drown my sorrows and extreme need for intimacy with promiscuity.  If this has taught me nothing else, it’s that I finally don’t need those things to cope.  I feel the pain with every sober fiber of my being.  And this makes me a stronger person.  A better version of myself.  Don’t you think?

Kara L. Rockwell

Each day, I'm one step closer to becoming the best-version-of-myself. I'm learning to fight for what's best for me, expect to get back the love I put out, and fall in love with myself first. 2013 is going to be my year - turning 30 is just the beginning.
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  1. Jennifer says:

    Kara, Thank you for having the courage to write. I have totally been there, I completely understand you. But the most important thing you said is your title “Don’t Waste the Pretty.” Don’t waste one more moment of your gorgeous, precious life, and your gorgeous, precious beauty, on this guy. LISTEN to his words. He feels bad he doesn’t treat you well. Why do you accept this is all you deserve for yourself?

    Have the gut-wrenching courage and belief in yourself to break it off for the last time. 6 times is enough. No more going back, ever. It will feel bad. But it won’t feel bad forever. I have been there. Your prince might be just around the corner but you are stuck in this mud. You can do it, get out.

    • Kara says:


      Thank you for your kind words. It has now been 13 days and counting (pathetic, right?)…and I feel stronger with each passing day. But I know myself, and I know I am likely to have moments of weakness or break downs. However, I truly want to do things differently this time and onward into the future. To not only recognize when I am in a familiar pattern (which I did), but to take ACTION and remove myself from the situation.

      You pose a great question for me, and others like me – “Why do you accept this is all you deserve for yourself?” Believe me, I am trying to figure that one out. And I am trying to build respect for MYSELF in all areas of my life, not just where men are concerned.

      Again, thank you for your comment. 🙂

  2. Great article, I feel your pain. Don’t be afraid to have the two of you get professional counseling if you think you two need it.

    • Kara says:


      Thank you for your comment. I actually have been seeking professional counseling for almost 2 years now (a lot of good it’s doing, right?). He had mentioned at one point that he would be willing to go in for couple’s counseling, which I looked into, and then the idea just sort of…disappeared. I couldn’t fix “us” alone.

      I think it’s great to have an unbiased, outside, professional opinion on where the flaws are, how things can be rethought, reworked, etc. I was afraid to admit I needed help, but now I encourage others to get the same help, when they just seem stuck in old patterns, like myself.

      • Your welcome. UCLA Neuroscience is world-class operation. Originally my family didn’t want me to get help, but then I realized your brain is just a complex computer. So its like hey, I’d rather have a pro fix my computer when I get in over my head instead of me messing around and breaking it 🙂 They are the IT department for my brain and anything else I can’t figure out about people.

  3. Ecclesiastes says:

    It’s not just the pretty you shouldn’t waste.

    I keep reading that one shouldn’t marry young, that one should mature first, and I suppose that the lessons one learns are helpful. However I haven’t seen that maturity help except at the margins. The innocent romantic, ready to commit everything to marriage, is just as good a prospect at 18 as at 28, because the will is the factor that makes the difference.

    If you had only been warned earlier and more forcefully about ditherers.

    • Kara says:


      Thank you for your comment. I wish it were true – that I had been warned earlier and more forcefully about this kind of thing and how I am prone to go along for the ride.

      I also see what you are saying (I think) about how age doesn’t matter. I suppose my comments are skewed – it’s not about how young you are when approaching the idea of marriage – but how much will you possess, etc. I have just always made it a goal not to make my mother’s mistakes – married & pregnant at 19. I suppose there is also something to be said about my opinion more than age, that not “rushing into things” is very important. I realize that a marriage is just as likely to fail if entered into at a young age v. “older”, in 3 months or 3 years, etc. etc. But, for me, I guess, I am glad I didn’t take the plunge with anyone from my past as I was not mature enough and didn’t know myself well enough then. And also, for me, I would like to spend a good amount of time with someone (a year, two years, however long it takes) before committing to something that huge.

      As far as “don’t waste the pretty”, I actually borrowed that from a phrase repeated in books I’ve been reading/re-reading. I don’t think it’s so much about looks, youth, etc. But to remind us not to “waste” our time, energy, etc. on people who do not have our best interest at heart.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Ecclesiastes says:

    It’s just that we don’t even approach mortgages this way, rather, we sign our names, committing to what ever it takes to make the payments.

    Marriages are different from mortgages thus, it is not that we should worry so much of our own credit worthiness – those deficencies we can address – but have we chosen a worthy partner.

    If the guy can’t hold fast to you in a romance then forget marriage where serious life and death shit goes on. It doesn’t matter if it’s you or him or anybody’s fault, the pattern between you two is set.  Think of the children … really … think of YOUR children, when there is no second chance. When the rainy night comes that he got fired and walked home because the car broke down, if the baby has a high fever then he has to man up, hug you, take both of his dollars, and head to the store for ibuprofen even if it might be closed. If he bails when he’s just a boyfriend, it’s over. Don’t talk to him for at least two months. That’s not being mean. It’s not even unfriendly.

    Well…ahem… This horse appears to have been beaten unconscious. Perhaps we should move on to something else.

    I’d introduce you to my younger son, however, even if the distance between were negotiable, he violated the one and only commandment I gave him when he went to college: “Don’t breed.”

  5. P.S. on having kids, my joke has always been, I just might adopt some day so nobody has to be running around with my DNA in them. Odds are by that time, somebody will have figured out how to get all of the bugs out of my genetic code so when version 2.0 comes online, we won’t have to install software patches 🙂

    • Ecclesiastes says:

      *Heh* Adam, for you:

      • Thanks for the note, my other joke is since I am allergic to fur, feathers, pollen, and mold, I can’t do cats, dogs, birds, mammals or plants, so my options are fish, reptiles, amphibians, or kids. I had a plastic plant in college, it was great, all I had to do was dust it once in a while, I didn’t have walk it or water it. I could get an astro turf lawn to keep it company. 🙂

    • Kara says:

      On having kids, I don’t even want to get into how my biological clock is ticking…at 26, my annual “lady doctor” appointment, they posed the question – “Do you plan on having kids? If so, how many? When?” I thought, “Lady, I can’t even keep a boyfriend, how am I supposed to know?” I said maybe, in the next 5-10 years. I have been worrying about it ever since. But I’d say, I am on the fence. I’d like to, maybe, if I can settle down and actually get married in the next 5 years. But I also would want a few years alone with my husband before adding kids into the mix. Kids don’t “fix” problems, they only heighten things. Oh, that sounds harsh. I don’t mean they are a problem themselves, it’s not their fault they’re here. But they don’t fix the issues within a marriage. They are not a solution to marital strife and should not be used as pawns that way. I’d say I’m undecided, for now. My biggest fear is regret. Looking back and realizing, “Well, it’s too LATE now.” And also, wanting to have myself and my own life together before dragging a poor innocent child into it all.
      Honestly, I was really looking forward to being an aunt. Although my sister is now married, she says she never wants kids. So I’m not sure that will be my path, either. We’ll see.

      • Ecclesiastes says:

        Are you saying you DO want an introduction?

        William is too good a man for his own welfare. He’s intelligent, honest, patient, faithful, and still too innocent to be cynical. He’s a better man than I am.

        Unfortunately he also has a more dangerous adversary as a ‘babymamma’ than I did.

        He intends to follow, somewhat, in his father’s footsteps : he is going to get custody of his son. Right now, he has his son every other week.

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