“Somebody That I Used To Know”

I love that song by Gotye. I think it encapsulates the lingering hurt many of us feel after an unpleasant breakup.

When I first heard the song, I immediately thought the title perfectly reflected my feelings about my ex. I didn’t have the resentment expressed in the lyrics, but the title seemed to fit. However, after 20 years together, how could he really be just be someone I used to know? Yes, it did feel like it was eons ago — another lifetime — that we were together. Yet there are sweet memories of the times we shared.

But some recent news of his enduring some serious health challenges made me want to understand what he was going through. Last  Spring, when he was diagnosed with cancer, he began recording 5-minute updates for his pals to understand what was happening without having to update dozens of people individually. He uploaded them to a public site, so when a mutual friend shared his situation had worsened, I listened to over 100 of the 134 podcasts, starting with the first one.

I found myself crying as I listened to his stories of intense pain, how frustrating it was to get information from his various health professionals, and how his normally chipper mood was hampered by his ordeals. He talked about how old he looked because of all the stress of radiation and severe back pain. I wondered if he was quickly dying.

His voice, musings and humor made me realize how I missed our connection. I harbor no romantic feelings for him. But he was one of my best friends for two decades. How can you not miss someone you were so close to for so long?

I realized I didn’t want to hold onto any resentments or anger I had about his ending our marriage. I didn’t want him to die without my reaching out to offer my support and sympathies. So I sent him a long email, telling him I listened to his recordings and would like to offer to be on his support team if that would be useful to him. I closed with telling him I thought his ending our marriage was a gift, as I would never had the courage to do so, but now I see it was the right thing to do.

There was no response for a day, then two. I had no idea what state he was in, so was fine if he didn’t reply. I had said what was important.

Then his response: He was thrilled I’d reached out, was amazed that I’d listened to over 100 of the updates, and said there was nothing he’d like better than for us to be friends now. He suggested we have a call to offer some completion answering questions we both had on the ending of our marriage.

Cool! I was pleased he’d taken my outreach so positively. I see this as a new chapter in our relationship.

So someone I used to know is becoming someone I will know again, anew.


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5 responses to ““Somebody That I Used To Know””

  1. Cathy Severson Avatar

    Very touching story. It’s interesting how we can be invested in thoughts and feelings.The situation or awareness changes and suddenly our perception is altered. BTW-thanks to you, I’m going to be singing “Somebody that I used to Know” all day in my head. THANKS!

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Thanks Cathy. It took me a long time to craft the email to him, as I wanted it to have the right tone of caring and support, with no hint of resentment. I’m glad you were touched by the story.

    Now enjoy that ear worm!

  3. Ali Avatar

    Basically women can “date up” but they have to “marry down,” and men will “date down” but will only “marry up”. Men realize this from a young age because to get sex we have to drop our standards. It often takes women a lot longer to realize that in order to get married she will eventually have to “marry down” (settle) or stay single. The longer she waits, the older she gets and the more she will have to compromise.

    That’s why women find dating so difficult.

    If your parents were both 6s, your mother could have spent her 20s hooking up with 8s – but your father couldn’t have. Young women days often do that these days. However, when these women reach their late 20s / 30s they will have to drop back down to dating 6s if they want to secure commitment. This process is difficult to accept because after 10 years of hooking-up with 8s she will have to realize that in fact she was only a 6 the whole time (the same applies for 5s hooking up with 7s, 4s with 6s etc). Truly hypergamous women never realize/accept it and so they keep getting dumped, or stay single.

    “Settling” isn’t the best term to use because it sounds depressing. Perhaps we should say “realignment of priorities?”

    I also agree with you on the idea of a soul-mate. I don’t believe in “the one” as such, rather “the timing” – people who just happen to be looking for the same thing at the same time, and then they meet each other.
    And this is why women going for someone out of her league has much more impact on the sexual market than a man doing so. She’ll get laid and he won’t.
    Women generally get more dating options even after accounting for the degenerates, criminals and creeps (read unattractive men) and having more options moulds you into different people, whether you like to accept or not. Having more options makes you selective. At the very least it gives you some validation. It makes you less desperate. It gives you a better idea of what kind of men are best for you because you have the privilege to date so many people. Most men just get down on their knees and flip out a ring for the 1st or 2nd woman who show mild interest in them. Most guys simply arent selective and dont have the long checklists because they never get so many options.

    And after a break up or divorce, women are in most cases better off. They can start an active dating and sex life soon after divorce. Its so common to see single freshly divorced moms having sexual relationships with good looking men. Meanwhile most divorced men have no one but prostitutes to turn to. Its all about “options’ and women have more of them.

    Women rarely experience sexual rejection. So even when a man isnt interested in committing, it at least validates her as a sexual desirable being. Atleast he found her attractive enough to have sex and share intimacy with. This reminds me of the fact that women never get friend-zoned. Its always a Friend-with-Benefit zone. It is so much better than simply being limited and confined to a non sexual being by the object of your affection/crush.

  4. Baby Avatar

    It makes me think of him, I was waiting for his messages that I used to get each day, and then he said it’s better to be friends, I was sad but he’s a nice man, that’s why I keep loving him.

  5. ritter standley Avatar
    ritter standley

    Such a nice heartwarming story! I am loss for words but I can just say that it is a very inspiring and I admire you for your courage reaching out to your ex. – Ritter