Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Impending Doom or Major Overreaction?

So, my five year high school reunion is in two weeks. (Cue eye rolling and jokes about how you can't even REMEMBER your five year reunion and am I sure I'm not a child bride living on a polygamist compound somewhere?) (Marginally Related Aside: Has anyone read Stolen Innocence yet? AM DYING to read that book!)

AnyWAY! I am not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I went to a very small, private (religious) high school, so this reunion will consist of only twenty to twenty five people, plus our spouses/significant others/children. (Yes, there are others who have kids too! We are a bunch of early marriers, what can I say?) So there is not much chance of NOT running into/greeting everyone who attends. It won't be a crowd into which you can blend or get lost. I was initially very excited about seeing everyone, and about showing off my little fam, but as the date approaches I am getting a major case of the N.T. (Tessie: Is abbreviation of this term permissible?) (Holy freaking parenthesis, Batman!)

This discomfort about the idea of facing my past stems largely from the idea of facing a certain PERSON from my past, a person I have not laid eyes on since the day I finally, officially broke up with him after almost a year of drama. I began dating Jim THE FOLLOWING DAY. And then got engaged SIX WEEKS later. It's not Mayberry, but this is not a BIG town, either, and I have no doubt that word got back to him about all this. Also, the nature of the breakup, while somewhat mutual, was not just a "this isn't working" kind of thing. More of an "I can't take your family's craziness nor your spinelessness one more second" kind of thing, a point which he reluctantly conceded. But a point which I remained bitter about for a long time, and which I explained, with some venom, to anyone who questioned me about the breakup. To be frank, I talked shit, you guys. I was Very Angry. See also, Wounded Pride.

Now, having some distance from the situation, I REALLY wish I had remained silent about the particulars of our breakup. I am sure I only succeeded in hurting him further, and in solidifying in his parents' minds that I was indeed who they thought I was. So much of what happened wasn't his fault, and, while I couldn't see it then, was even (wince) MY fault. So much of it was just immaturity.

I never see him, though I did run into his parents once (while wearing sweatpants and a ponytail, naturally.) He apparently moved to Florida and now works for DISNEY WORLD, for cripes' sake. So, there's a good chance he won't be there at all. (PLEASE GOD.) But his family still lives in town, and the reunion will be around the Fourth of July, so it's possible he'll decide to make a trip of it for the holiday and attend the reunion...

I just have no idea what I would say to him. Where to even begin. "So, um, sorry about being able to get over you so quickly. And telling everyone how awful you and your family were. And sorry for being married and happy and all, even though I imagine you were expecting that my marriage was a shotgun wedding destined to fail in six months. And speaking of which, have you met my dear husband, Jim?"

But you guys... Am I blowing this way out of proportion due to guilt/embarrassment? Is it possible he's totally moved on and holds no bitterness towards me? Or is this going to be one Truly Awkward social situation for everyone involved?

Is it possible a really cute haircut and outfit will carry me through with some dignity intact?

27 comments:

Pickles & Dimes said...

Yes, a cute hairdo and outfit will do wonders for the N.T. :)

It's been 5 years. IF he does show up and IF conversation with him seems awkward, THEN you can apologize to him IF he still seems to have hurt feelings.

But bringing it up proactively when he's well over it might be embarrassing. Take your cues from him.

P.S. My mom dated a guy for years, and then broke up with him and started dating my dad practically the next day. She married my dad not long after. The ex told her, "You'll be divorced in 6 months."

They've been married for 38 years.

K in the Mirror said...

I am so NOT the person to give advice in this situation, since my experience has been DOOM, doom all the way, baby.

But I think there's no way things could turn out as badly for you, and that p&d is correct, and I'm interested to hear how it all turns out.

Mommy Daisy said...

Is there a chance that you can avoid him? I know, I know, small class, not many people. But still. Will he approach you at all? Do you feel like you NEED to talk to him?

There is a guy from my past who I was hurt by. He had feelings for me for years. He attended my parents church, where I attended until I got married and moved here. He would be there when I went back for visits, but I just avoided him (even in a small church). It I walked right by him and he saw me, I might say hi, but then keep on walking. Now (years later) he is married and lives away too, but a few weeks ago he was at that church while I was there visiting my family too. He didn't seem to notice me (when I looked anyway) and I just ignored him for the most part. I don't even know what you say to him anymore, so it's easier this way.

Fine For Now said...

I agree with P & D too. You will know how to react when you see him. Plus, like you said, he may not even be there!

desperate housewife said...

P & D: Thanks for the bolstering story about your parents.

Shannon said...

Go, you will do fine and you are a Classy Lady now, so it will all be good in the hood.

My 10 year is coming up this summer. I feel officially middle age.

Jess said...

I would pretty much ignore it unless he actually brings it up. Just say hi and how are you and introduce Jim and act like the whole thing never happened. And if he starts talking about it then you can like, wow, yeah, sorry about that, it was so long ago, we were so immature. And then move on.

It'll be fine!

LoriD said...

Of course you'll need a cute haircut and new outfit. No question.

So much has happened for you in 5 years and hopefully his life has been good too (Disney? It's got to be pretty good!) No need to bring up the past; if you have to talk to him, just chat about the present.

Swistle said...

When encountering this sort of situation in my own life, I go for the "we were such BABIES back then!" attitude: good-humored, amused at the recollection of the things that once mattered to us, which look so distant and unimportant now. So I don't apologize per se, but if the other person is NOT doing the "we were such BABIES back then!" attitude, I do the hand-on-the-upper-arm and the "Oh, that was so long ago!"-type thing. Kind of laughing at myself for having been such a silly young person.

saly said...

My ex and I broke up in June and Hub and I got together officially in August though we saw/spoke to each other every day from June-then...almost 14 years ago.

The Ex told Hub he would always love me, breaking up was the biggest mistake of his life, he'd be waiting when we broke up etc.

Thankfully, none of my exes were at my 10-year reunion (2 years ago)

Hair and outfit will help fo sho!!

Mimi said...

Looking great is the best defense! If it was me, I would try my best to be chatty to everyone and breezy and not act like he was any different than the rest of them.

d e v a n said...

I would NOT bring it up. He's probably got some clarity on his part of the situation as well and it's doubtful he wants to talk about it either. Let bygones be bygones. :)
Have fun! A cute hairdo and new outfit are definitely a must!!

Tessie said...

NT! Love it!

I'm with Swistle. In this kind of AWKFEST, I always laugh and say, "Oh man! Wouldn't you like to go back and kick your own 20-year-old ass? I know I would! HAHAHA!". Works like a charm.

Still, though. NT.

Bird said...

Hey. We all did stuff and high school that we'd rather leave in the past. I like whoever used the phrase, "we were such BABIES then!" I say leave it in the past unless he seems like he wants to talk about it.

This is probably assvice as I hated high school so much that I would NEVER NEVER attend a reunion. Hello? Everyone I had classes with is either a lawyer or a doctor and I'm a crazy stay-at-home mom.

jess said...

If he hasn't already gotten past it then he has serious issues. And, honestly, I bet you could avoid talking to him at the reunion. If you are forced somehow to speak to him, I would just avoid the topic and go into the generic "how are you" banter.

Don't let him ruin your good time. Your not probably going to have to see him again for another 5 years, if he shows up at that reunion.

jess said...

Wow. I do know the correct usage of your and you're. Yikes, you know what I meant.

Maggie said...

I would totally flip out if I were you. But I think that it probably will end up being no big deal. And really, it is no big deal - everyone does things like that when they are younger. I'm sure he's over it -- and if he isn't then he'll just have to find someone else to talk to!

Black Sheeped said...

It'll be fine. It will not be a big deal. At all. If you DO talk to him, you'll probably have a brief semi-awkward "what are you doing now?" "oh, neat, what are you doing?" conversation, that will not be a big deal. And if you don't talk, that's okay too. Really. Don't worry about it. It really really really won't be as big of a deal as you think now, and even if it IS, you can come bemoan the whole story to us later. :)

Just relax and enjoy seeing what everyone is up to!

SLynnRo said...

I'm with Swistle. Sort of joke about your immaturity and gauge his reaction. I mean, dude works at Disney World. He's probably a happy go lucky kind of guy.

Billie said...

I am so NOT the person to be giving social advice but the 'making light' of poor behaviour even if the poor behaviour was the result of adolescent immaturity doesn't sit well with me.

I would vote for not bringing it up deliberately but should the need arise I would go for a more sincere route. Even a simple, "I am sorry for my immature behaviour regarding our break-up" seems more appropriate than the flippant "We were such babies back then." How mature is it to blow off actions that you are now acknowledging could have been hurtful to the other party. Of course... I am not saying that you agreed with those posters. I am simply saying that I don't think this is the right approach.

Chelle said...

Ohh, I also had an Awkward Encounter with an ex at my High School reunion (twenty year reunion, ug! You are so young and shiny!).

I found that a cute hairdo did wonders for my courage. Also, a leeetle bit of red wine, not that I'm advocating for alcohol. I'm just sayin'.

artemisia said...

A new haircut and snazzy new outfit will work wonders.

Also, I think you will know how to treat each other when (and if) you see each other. Keep in mind those things you've learned, especially that you want to treat him well and with fairness. It may be a very good reunion for you both!

desperate housewife said...

Chelle: But... but... There will BE NO wine! RELIGIOUS high school reunion! I mean, everyone I know now drinks, but a lot of these people I'm not still in touch with, and I'm kinda betting they DON'T drink, and so... I'm anticipating this will be a cocktail free event.

pseudostoops said...

Oh god. The idea of a reunion without at least a leeeeeetle wine makes me feel vaguely queasy.

I like the idea of emphasizing the distance between then and now, if it comes up- you're not absolving yourself of responsibility by making the excuse that you were young and stupid, it's just a way to say "man, the adult I've become regrets the way the younger me acted" kind of thing without having to get into all the sordid details.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

OH JEEZ. Whatever you do, don't do what I did at my 10 year college reunion (yep. OLD FOGEY.) I wound up in line behind this guy that I chased, teased, lead on and then dumped (Seriously poor form but I was a socially maladjusted babe in the woods of college and cannot be responsible for my actions.). I blathered on and on (AND ON) about how terrible I had been and I was so sorry and I didn't know what I was doing.

At the end of my monologue? He asked me what I was talking about.

(Granted, this was not a long term relationship, which it sounds like yours was, and we're old so it's possible he really couldn't remember- either due to time elapsed or DEMENTIA.) STILL. Better to go with lighthearted and/or avoidance, IMO.

Brett_in_Deutschland said...

To answer the question:

MAJOR OVERREACTION

You'll be the coolest person there. Watch out for Jim, though. He might take advantage of the situation and make it completely akward as a joke.

Astarte said...

OMG, I avoid all my reunions like the plague because of issues like this. My one actual love other than my DH, the one whom part of my heart will always belong to but I treated like crap and cheated on (due to issues with abandonment stemming from my father's early departure, I typically kept more than one 'boyfriend' at a time), still lives in town and would almost definitely be there. In my imaginings, he would stagger drunkenly up to DH and proceed to spew all sorts of awfulness while I looked vainly for a crack to fall through. No, thank you.

Would this actually happen? Probably not. Probably the worst that would happen is he would pointedly ignore me or make some snide remark as I walked by. I graduated in '96, but to this day I feel like crap about it, so of course that's how I would expect him to think of me, too. I think the biggest problem, really, is that I haven't forgiven *myself*, so I expect that no one else could, either. It's ridiculous, after all this time, and since we're both parents now, I'm sure he has a better understanding, or would if I gave him the chance.

I think it may well be awkward at such a small reunion. It's not like you can avoid him. But, try and look at it as an opportunity for BOTH of you to show forgiveness. Obviously you made the right decision.