So I eventually watched the #hurtbae video (yes, I was living under a work when it all happened, but better late than never) and I must have watched it five times back to back because in those few minutes, those two people talked about a lifetime of hurt, of miscommunication, of doubt, of a lack…
So I eventually watched the #hurtbae video (yes, I was living under a work when it all happened, but better late than never) and I must have watched it five times back to back because in those few minutes, those two people talked about a lifetime of hurt, of miscommunication, of doubt, of a lack of trust, of infidelity, and six minutes just seemed too disrespectful an amount of time to give it. As I listened and watched, I could feel that girl’s sadness. Not because she was crying, though that was sad too. But because she was having to relive those moments in the relationship when she was unhappiest. She had to go through everything again, and to make it worse, she had to do it with the young man knowing that he was hurting her and yet hurting her all the same.
A lot of thoughts crossed my mind while the video was on repeat – and no. I didn’t judge the guy for being a seeming bastard, because we really have no clue why the people in our lives do what they do. I’m sure in his head, he had a clear logic (no matter how flawed) as to why he cheated on her and treated her the way he did, in spite of the fact that he claimed she was his best friend (this is one of the pitfalls with best-friendships crossing the line into amorous relationships – but that’s fodder for a different article). However, the one big thought that kept dancing around in my head was this – that girl was brave. And I’ll tell you why.
In cases of infidelity, the one who has been cheated on is often at a loss for why the cheater has cheated, especially when he/she has been faithful and devoted to the person and to their relationship. They start off by being hurt (some are completely devastated). And then angry. And then hurt again. It is often during this second ‘hurt’ period that they begin to come to terms with the (often erroneous) realization that maybe they weren’t good enough. They deal with feelings of inadequacy, trying to figure out where they went wrong – Were they not good-looking enough? Did they not have enough money? Were they not good in bed? Did they not give the cheater enough attention, enough love? Was their religion or ethnic tribe the problem? Were they too fat? Were they not sophisticated or tush enough? And while all these questions run amok in their heads, the truth is many of them (of us) do not have the courage to ask. And even when some people are able to ask either in their anger or in their quieter, resigned moments, they don’t really have the courage to know. Because it’s one thing to ask, but it’s a whole different ball game to have your fears confirmed – to be told that you weren’t good enough. So it’s easier to blame the cheater (which is fine because you didn’t tell them to cheat) and attribute their behaviour to a fundamentally flawed character.
This is why I think Kourtney was brave. In trying to get closure, she made herself vulnerable and went head-on with a monster whose face and form she really didn’t know. She had a picture in her head, something she had imagined – she may have decided that she wasn’t good enough for him, and I’m leaning towards this conclusion just by virtue of how she stayed with him even knowing he had been with other girls. Her self-esteem took a beating every time she contemplated the fact that he was messing about with other girls. She probably questioned her level of self-respect, of dignity. Why was she staying and forgiving him and staying still? (This love thing is a bitch though).
But when she decided to actually sit and have that conversation, she was offering herself up for judgement. It doesn’t matter that she did it sometime after the relationship was over. In my opinion, it didn’t make it any less difficult, and I’m sure she would agree with me judging from the gamut of emotions she went through, caught unfortunately (or fortunately) on camera. It was like she had made herself an archer’s target, standing pinned to a stake, knowing the arrows would come and knowing they would hurt as f**k. She literally took herself back to the old days (and this was no case of sweet nostalgia), to the old hurts, to the old pains. And when he admitted the things he did, when he said them, he gave life to the fears she had had. He breathed life into that monster she had imagined but not really known. He hurt her. All over again.
So, was it really worth it, putting herself through that? Did she really feel better after feeling worse? She says she’s moved on and it helped her move on. But I wonder, wouldn’t she still have been able to move on without having that boy tell her to her face that he “did everything”? Maybe the question should be has she really moved on? Is there any comeback from that? She mentioned a time when she had gone to his room and met another girl there, and he had told her (Kourtney) to leave. Jeez! I would never be able to recover from that. And I wouldn’t even want to ask why he did it. The answer would be too scary, frail-hearted as I am. It would be so much easier for me to just call him a bastard and walk out at that point never to see him again.
But #hurtbae (wo)manned up and not only confronted her errant ex-boyfriend, she did it on camera for the world to see. And even managed to gracefully step down from the chair and leave the set when her emotions were highest. Me, I’d have been bawling like a cow in labour and my face would have looked like a rotten tomato, all bent out of shape. And I’m not kidding.
While I understand the so-called advantages of closure, there are days when I doubt its usefulness. I was once in a relationship that ended quite abruptly. I don’t know that he cheated but he just sort of left. To be frank, he left me before he left me. He pulled away mentally and emotionally before he left me physically. I didn’t understand what happened, though I know he had his demons. But I honestly believed I was helping him fight them. In the end, I wasn’t enough (yes, I drew that conclusion too) and after trying to pull him back and hold on to him for 6 months, I eventually gave up. It hurt. A lot. I had never felt so low, so inadequate in my life (well except the time when the father of my muslim ex-boyfriend wrote him an email telling him that he didn’t want a Christian as a daughter in-law and especially not a Catholic. But that’s another story for another day).
For months after this guy left, I warred within myself, trying to understand what and why. Several times I picked up the phone to call and ask him why, but I never quite made it to dialling point. I was afraid. I was afraid that he left because I didn’t matter. I was afraid that it didn’t matter to him that I was hurt, that I felt inadequate. I was afraid that he would dismiss my questions the same way he had dismissed me, dismissed us. I was afraid to hear him say that he just didn’t want to be with me anymore. And my fears kept me from taking that bold step. But I moved on, I think. Even though at random moments, I would think about him and wonder what he was doing, if he had found someone who made him happy the way I couldn’t, if he thought about me the way I did him or if I was just a distant memory in his head.
I called him a year and a half later – it took me that long to summon up the courage to dial his number. My heart pounded with trepidation. I wasn’t sure what I was going to hear on the other end of the line – Surprise? Indifference? Coldness? Warmth? In the long seconds it took the call to connect and ring, our two and half year relationship flashed through my head, and I felt the old waves of hurt. But he answered before I could hang up. And I asked how he was doing and what he was doing and if he was fine and if he still drove his Honda Accord, and so many other random questions that popped into my mind at the time. He sounded measured – not indifferent, not cold, not warm either. Just measured. And guarded. I didn’t ask any of the things I really wanted to ask. He didn’t offer any explanations for ‘disappearing’ nor an apology for just leaving. He spoke to me like we were acquaintances and I decided then that closure was overrated. I didn’t want to know anymore, because I didn’t think it was worth the trouble.
In a way, you could say that was my own closure, coming to terms with the fact that there isn’t always an explanation for everything. Because what good would it have done if he told me all the things I had been afraid to hear? And I agree that the possibility existed that he would tell me something different, something unexpected. But I wasn’t brave enough to take that risk. Not like #hurtbae.
In case you were under a rock like I was, you can watch the #hurtbae video here.
And when you’re done, tell us if you would go for closure after a failed relationship or like me, just let sleeping wounds lie.