Spoiler: This Story Does Not Contain A Birthday Breakup

, , , , , , , | Romantic | February 4, 2020

I start dating a guy in high school, and we really hit it off. However, once we graduate, we go to different colleges in two different states. We begin a long-distance relationship. Our first year of college, it’s fine. We call a lot, talk over Skype, email frequently, and still manage to spend time together when we visit our hometown.

At the beginning of our second year of college, his parents divorce. It really hits him hard. I try to be as supportive as I can, but he begins to withdraw. We schedule times to Skype, but he begins to log in less and less often. Longer time passes between emails. Whenever he digitally stands me up, he always apologizes and gives me his reason: “I was so tired, I just had to nap,” “I was feeling really fried from finals and couldn’t talk,” “Stuff was going down at home, and I just don’t want to talk about it.”

As this goes on for months with communication between us becoming increasingly infrequent, I begin to voice that I feel neglected and that it hurts whenever he goes for weeks without talking to me. As always, he apologizes, but nothing ever changes. He says if I “just pick a date and time,” he’ll do his best to Skype with me. I do, but he always winds up canceling or not logging in. I can see the signs of the relationship failing right there, but I really like this guy. When we do talk, he has a great sense of humor. We also share the same quirky interests in some really niche stuff.

Into our third year of college — yes, I did wait two years for him to come to terms with his parents’ divorce — it becomes months between contact. I send emails and texts and leave voicemails when I can. I even agree to watch his favorite television show with him in its entirety — well over 100 episodes — just to spend time with him. We have simultaneously streamed shows before and talked over Skype while we watched them. It is something we enjoyed doing together. However, even that doesn’t change how infrequently he contacts me.

He apologizes again and insists that if I “just pick a date and time” he will do better this time. At this point, I tell him any time is fine as I will clear my schedule just to talk to him. It’s now two weeks until my birthday. He makes a promise: “I absolutely promise that I will be online before your birthday so we can talk.” He makes it sound like this will be a long conversation, possibly streaming a television show, and that we’ll be able to catch up on lost time. However, he doesn’t give me a date or time.

For the next two weeks, I spend as much time as I can on my computer because I want to talk to him as long as possible — as he made it sound. It eats my life. As soon as I’m done with dinner on campus, usually 7:00 pm, I’m online. I stay online until midnight or 1:00 am, just to see if he’ll speak with me. Some nights, I’m online as early as 5:00 am. Yes, I’m the fool who waited for six hours a day for my boyfriend to Skype me.

It’s the night before my birthday at 11:30 pm. At this point, I am so frustrated and sleep deprived that I’m sobbing. I move my mouse over to click on “Log Out” as I figure he has completely flaked again. It’s at that exact moment the notification pops up and he logs in. He gives me a huge string of smiley emojis and says, “See, I told you I’d be on before your birthday!” He has no idea why I am mad at him. After all, he made it “just in time” for my birthday even though we can’t talk for more than half an hour because of classes.

His birthday is the following month. I wait until 1:30 am the night after his birthday ends and send him an email breaking up with him — it’s not like I can even get a hold of him face to face anymore. He replies back, furious, “How dare you ruin my birthday like that?!” I reply with, “It wasn’t technically your birthday anymore.”

And that is the last I’ve ever heard from him. I have no regrets about how I broke up with him.

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