The Breakup Park

I’ll begin today’s post by saying that I am happily married to a rockin’ guy…and even though we have our spells of loving-but-not-necessarily-liking one another, it is so comforting to know that I never have to go through another break-up again. I was never good at them…I just don’t like the drama.

With that being said, today I’m going to take you back to another time and place, to another boy that was in my life for a time…my college boyfriend. His name will be withheld for obvious purposes, so I’ll take this opportunity to give him a new one. I hereby dub the…Tim.

<haha…shout out to the waiter from Pastafina!>

<No, the waiter from Pastafina was not my college boyfriend. I just borrowed his name.>

ANYWAY. I met Tim toward the end of my freshmen year when I started attending a new church and visiting their college program. I mostly watched him from a distance, thinking he was older & probably wouldn’t want anything to do with me. After a summer at home, I returned in the fall and immediately got plugged in to the church/group…and it didn’t take long for us to officially meet and start hanging out some.

When we first “officially” got together (ugh yes…I’m pretty sure I forced him to have that awkward “what are we?” talk) it only lasted for a few days. Literally. One night we go out, I can tell something is up with him and I figure he’s about to break it off. And he was, he just couldn’t quit work up the nerve to do it. It literally took him hours of awkward conversations to finally tell me that he thought he was interested in someone else from the group. At that point I mostly felt relieved that the marathon-breakup session was over.

The next morning he sat next to a different brown-haired, brown-eyed girl at church. (Forget a respectful waiting period…this dude just moved right in. How rude.)

And the next afternoon he was knocking on my dorm-room door asking if I would take him back.

I should have known right there.

What progressed from there was a two-year relationship with some great highs and a lot of very argumentative lows. I won’t spend a lot of time on any of that here because A) we had some good times and I don’t want to belittle those, B) it’s in the past, C) that’s not the funny part.

So from that point on, for the next two years, we broke up faithfully every six months. Like clockwork. And here’s where the park comes in.


The first (well actually technically it was the second) break-up came after church one day. We both knew it was coming, and I just wanted to get it over with. He wanted to eat lunch first (hungry much?!) and break-up afterwards. So it was decided that the plan would be to go eat, then drive separately to the park so we could “talk.”

What the crap?!

<I can still picture us sitting there at Chili’s ordering and eating and staring into space and do pretty much anything but talking, because we had agreed that we would take care of our business at the park afterwards. We took awkward to a whole new level that day.>

We finished eating, I insisted that HE pay, and then he dropped me off at my car so that we could drive separately to the park. We picked a nice picnic table, sat there and went over the list of reasons why it wasn’t working out, etc. etc. And of course, I cried. (Come to think of it, he may have cried a little too…)

Not all of you have had the pleasure of seeing me cry. It’s not a pretty sight. I turn tomato red, swell up, and my nose turns into a faucet in about 3 seconds flat. In devising and executing our break-up plan, we had both overlooked something very important…kleenex. So, in an attempt at being a gentleman I guess, he half-heartedly offers up the bottom of his shirt to me.

I’m sure he thought I’d never accept.

I’m sure he was trying to be a nice guy.

I’m sure he was freaking out in his head WHEN I ACTUALLY STARTED BLOWING MY NOSE ON HIS SHIRT.

Bahaha…that part still cracks me up.

You shouldn’t say it if you don’t mean it.

After I had my crying somewhat in control and he had developed an irresistable urge to go home and take a shower, he got in his truck and drove away…leaving me there to watch him fade into the distance.


It wasn’t more than a couple of weeks before he was knocking on my dorm room door again. But this time he was sweaty. Apparently he’d been in such a foul mood since breaking up with me that his mom had kicked him out of the house, and he’d walked the couple of miles over to my dorm.

So I took him back and we rocked along for another six months.


Breakup #3 happened in response to what had become a BIG problem in our relationship…arguing. Before him I wasn’t an argumentative person, but boy howdy did he bring out that side of me. It was no bueno to say the least.

So where do we end up….but back at the park. At the same picnic table nonetheless.

This time he has a plan. He insists that he doesn’t want to break up; that our communication issues can be solved.  Rather, he proposes that we stop speaking or communicating in any way for 40 days.

No, that isn’t a typo.

He continues on to tell me that in his study of the bible he’s seen that there is something God-ordained about the number 40, and that he really feels like cutting off communication for 40 days will improve our communication in the long run.

Because that makes perfect sense.

At that point I, in no uncertain terms, told him (without crying I might add) that if he needed 40 days, then we should just call it what it was. A break-up. I also told him how ridiculous I thought it was for us to continue going to the same church, hanging out with the same friends, and serving on our 10 person ministry-leadership team and yet not speak for over 2 months.

I don’t really remember how we ended up back together, but I know it was less than 40 days later. This time we seemed to be stronger than ever, and since my junior year of college was drawing to an end the M word started getting tossed around quite a lot. I had myself convinced that he was “the one,” so much so that when he suggested we go ring shopping I was giddy beyond belief.

Until we actually went.

Something about sitting in a jewelry store with a guy trying on fancy rings puts a lot of things in perspective, and as the outing wore on the realization dawned on me that there was something not sitting right with me. I didn’t know what to do…I mean here I was, trying on sparkly rings (one of which he had already unofficially picked out during a previous outing without me), and trying to look like I was having fun…but on the inside I was panicking. What if he actually got one of these rings and proposed to me?! I knew in that moment that I would have to say no.

So I did the only thing I knew to do. I criticized every single ring. I became overly picky, increasingly uncertain, and insisted that none of them were quite what I was looking for.

Needless to say, the relationship was doomed from that point on.

When we went back to the park for that last break-up, we both knew what was coming. We took separate cars to the park and met at our picnic table. He had written a letter to read to me, and I forgot my kleenex. <And yes, that means exactly what you think it does. I used his shirt. He really shouldn’t have offered again…he already knew from experience that I would take him up on it.> This time, I drove away first and made him sit there and watch me fade away.

A few days later when he called and wanted to get back together I said no. A couple of weeks after that when he told me that he really felt like God was telling him that “he was going to marry Heather” I told him somebody’s wires were crossed because that’s not what God was telling me. And for about the next year and half we kept up this weird thing where we weren’t really friends, but occasionally we would try to reconnect and one or the other of us would want to get back together. So complicated. So full of drama.

I just kept thinking that love shouldn’t be that difficult.


Right about the time I met Chris, Tim started calling me again saying that he missed what we had had together. I look back now and see what a pivotal point in my life that was…and I am so happy that I had the strength and peace of mind to tell him goodbye.

I guess that was really our final break-up, but it didn’t happen at the park. It happened over the phone, when I told him that I had just started dating this really great guy, and that it just wasn’t fair to Chris to keep talking to Tim on the phone. We agreed that we just couldn’t go back to being only friends, and that this needed to be the big goodbye…and so it was. That night I closed a chapter in my life, and I began to write a new love story…one with many chapters still to be written.

So I guess the moral is that I’m thankful for the break-up park, which I pass everytime I drive through the ‘Ville…and I’m thankful for snotty t-shirts, because they led me to the love I have now.

That last one was kind of a big leap, I know.

And there you have it. That’s the scoop on the break-up park. Chris and I went there for our “taco-bell date” the other night…but we sat at a different picnic table. 🙂



P.S. – For those of you who are wondering how ol’ Tim turned out, no worries. When he said God was telling him that he was going to marry Heather, he wasn’t lying. Tim married a different Heather just a couple of months before I married Chris. A brown-haired, brown-eyed, elementary teacher Heather.

That’s not creepy or anything right?! 😉

Categories: Daily Drama | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Breakup Park

  1. That’s really weird that “Tim” married a girl named Heather. We so thankful for the break-up park! Love ya!

  2. Re'Genna Gamblin

    This is one of those stories that I laugh at every time I think of it. Ya know I think “Tim” is a good fellow, and I hope he is happy, but I’m so glad the two of you figured out that it wasn’t meant to be and in time found your seperate…meant to be’s!


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