You Borrowed My Bob Dylan CD and Stole My Heart. I’d like them back now, please.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were a dynamic singing/peace-loving duo

I once made the mistake of exchanging CDs with a guy I was seeing. I loaned him Bob Dylan’s  “Blonde on Blonde” and he loaned me “Highway 61 Revisited.” It took some convincing, but eventually he saw the light — Highway 61 may have its historic significance, but Blonde on Blonde boasted the catchier tracks.

Before I knew it, we were serenading each other with “I Want You” and stomping along to “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” as we cooked dinner in his kitchen. While we saw each other, we shared many things, including a mutual distaste for the Red Sox and a mutual preference for elaborate home-cooking, but nothing was more “ours” than Bob Dylan.

At the time, it was great. Every time I’d start to belt out “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” I’d think of us and smile.

And then our theme song became “Most Likely You’ll go your way and I’ll go mine”

We stopped seeing each other.

When a relationship ends, there’s always the post-traumatic exchange of goods. Things loaned and borrowed, things left behind at apartments or in cars — all things that have to be returned in an awkward and loaded hand-off. But let’s face it, ridding yourself of his Michigan sweatshirt and reclaiming your “Blonde on Blonde” from his CD rack is relatively easy. I’d even go so far as to call the act empowering. The problem is ridding yourself of the intangibles.

Back at home, I held my Dylan CD in my hand and looked at it with distaste. I knew I wouldn’t be able to listen to it  anytime soon without flashbacks to our sing-alongs and cook-ins. Appropriately, I recalled a song Joan Baez wrote about her relationship with Bob Dylan in which she sings: “We both know what memories can bring/ They bring diamonds and rust.”  I was having a hard time finding any diamonds amongst the items I’d reclaimed from his place and the memories that lingered from our months together. Worse of all, Bob Dylan was covered in rust for me and I was annoyed at my ex for stealing both my heart and my favorite musician.

A broken heart mends in time, but a broken CD… well, the only place for that is the trash.

75 thoughts on “You Borrowed My Bob Dylan CD and Stole My Heart. I’d like them back now, please.

  1. great post! I have lost many of things, including music, because of a broken relationship. What I hate the most though, is losing my favorite songs to memories that I can’t bear to recall. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Penny

    I love Bob Dylan, too. I can’t imagine having it ruined for me, though you’re right about the broken heart mending and the broken CD meant for the trash. Sorry things didn’t work out. From another twenty-something-singleton to another.


  3. Nice post!
    I left my entire record collection when I left an ex. It’s been 3 years and I can’t decide if it is worth having to deal with him again to get it back.
    As for the memories, I decided many, many years ago never to allow anyone, or anything steal my favorite music from me.
    I can always choose to put the music away for a bit, and then I come back to it, purposely with the ears that fell in love with it in the first place. Life really is better that way.
    We can mend both our hearts and our minds. I wish you the best of both.

  4. I used to feel exactly the same way about The Smiths.

    But, don’t trash your Dylan just yet — one day, you’ll see it on the shelf and you won’t feel the same distate. You’ll play it and remember why you loved it in the first place.

    It’s taken about five years, but I can finally listen to ‘The Queen is Dead’ without thinking of my ex… and it’s pretty liberating.

  5. I shared so many of my “likes and loves” with a guy that now everything is tainted. It’s like part of my personality needs to be altered because it now belongs to him, because it reminds me of him. Everything reminds me of him. Torture really. I can’t indulge in so many of the things I like. It sucks.

  6. Wow. We have all been through that. Funny how something that was so meaningful can suddenly become so painful. I have advice, though. Find something that is just *yours* and be reluctant to share it. That way, when things go south you can still call it your own. Eventually, those shared things will quit becoming a sore spot when you finally decide to quit letting those “other” people ruin what you enjoy. Believe me, I have been there.

  7. This post is sooo true!!! I originally thought you were going in the direction of he wouldn’t give you back your cd. But I think this may be worse…you got your favorite cd back, but couldn’t enjoy it.

    Congrats on FP!

  8. Barbara O' Donnell

    Thank you for putting words on some of ‘the intangibles’. After a recent break-up, most all music was lost to me, as he was totally the music end of us. I am into music, but it all became ours, and hence held some association or other. Though it is taking time, I am reclaiming mine 🙂

  9. That’s the worst! All of the incredible songs my ex ruined for me is perhaps one of the more unforgivable things he did! I do have a remedy for this problem though….listen to the songs over and over again. I am the type of person who confronts most things head on, and losing your favorite music is no laughing matter. Typically when I break up with someone, over time I make sure to go to our favorite restaurant, listen to our most memorable songs, over and over (the repetition is important) in order to disassociate the loved activity from the ex beloved. I’m telling you it works! If you’re thinking about that ex, check out this poem I wrote after bumping into mine: (This is my second time posting a link to my blog in a comment box in the last two days, but I definitely think you might appreciate this one!).

    Trust me Bob Dylan is NOT something to throw in the trash! Listen to him over and over again, experience the painful (or nauseating) memories, and in no time both you and Bobby boy will be good as new!

  10. Memories are powerful things, especially when triggered by music or smells…It’s surprising though that you feel the CD was ruined simply because the relationship didn’t work out. If you shared happy times together, then it’s possible to retain those memories of joy while listening to a familiar song. I have songs like that too, ones that bring back happy times, and sad times (like one I listened to after my bf broke up with me). Listening to that song brings back the memory of pain, but the pain itself is gone…

    In that way, you can take a trip into the past, into various parts of it, by popping in a different CD or hearing a certain song on the radio. You can recall thoughts, feelings…you can observe yourself, the way you were, from the sidelines, and learn more about yourself.

  11. Clay

    There is a great line in a bad movie (St. Elmo’s Fire maybe?) in which a jilted character says to the woman he is kicking out of his home: “No Springsteen leaves this house!”

    And there’s always Wilco’s “Box Full of Letters:”
    I got a lot of your records
    in a separate stack
    some things I might like to hear
    but I guess I’ll give ’em back

    Listen: Love can be ephemeral. Dylan lasts a lifetime. This too shall pass.

  12. Michelle

    I never shared my favorite love song with anyone I dated for fear they would taint it. When I got married I walked down the isle to it. A statement for myself, as well as this genuine love.

  13. i really love your post… 🙂 it’s harder to deal with the intangibles after a break up, especially if you were really able to forge a deep relationship. anyway, i guess we just have to think that these thigns happen to make way for something better… 🙂

  14. denverdarling

    it is a sad thing when songs or musicians we loved dearly are, even if for a brief period of time, a bit warped by a break-up. songs that symbolized your happiness and connection with the person suddenly become dirge bells. i hope you can listen to dylan once again. great post and all too many similarities…

  15. Over time music re-sweetens. When the images are far enough away for the good to be seen again despite the sour ending. You can’t let a bad end sour the good times, otherwise everything in the end would end up soured, really. There are few happy endings. Lots of happy middles.

    Nice post.

  16. My ex drunk dialed me about a month after we broke up, yelling about how I had ruined music for him. Not a song, not a band, but the entire art form. It made me kind of okay about losing a few songs at the end of our relationship…

  17. The Perfectly Imperfect One

    Wow great post, break-ups can be hard, especially when you loved something and now you have memories with the person and you can’t stand that item any longer. So sad! Congrats on being freshly pressed 🙂

  18. x1123581321x

    He did not steal your heart, you gave it away. He no longer wanted it, and this, I fully agree with you, hurt like a son of a bitch. The CD is just stuff you choose to it to anchor yourself and not move on. If you want to take time for a grieving period, cool. Do it. Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan and he did not change, it is the way you are listening to it that have changed.

    If you stop lending stuff and sharing with people, who really have lost? I would think it would be you, don’t change because of outside infrequences, change because it comes from the inside. No one can take the music away from you, it’s a memory. The CD is commodity. Go out and buy two CD’s. Scratch one and use it as coaster… Anyone can steal a commodity but no one can take away your memory.

    If you don’t give your heart, you will never find a great love. You must take this risk. If you guard your heart and protect it from pain, you will live a half life… Give stuff away, with a smile, give your heart away and you will find love and this WILL make you smile.

  19. you are SO right!! even places and events have that rusted after taste ..UUGGHH! Hate when that happens! My good friend was with a guy for 10 years and when they broke up she had to move cities.. There wasn’t anywhere that didn’t have ‘him’ on it..

  20. I dated a guy who lent about 20 of my CD’s to a friend, unbeknownst to me. They were all in a case, so he just handed over the case. I found out too late.

    I still mourn the loss of them to this day. That was about 10 years ago…I forget who it was that gave them out, though.

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  22. I made my ex a mix tape of all my favorite songs from my numero uno favorite artist, Tyrone Wells, because they are all songs that reminded me of our undying affections for each other.

    Well… those affections rolled over a died. And those songs were tainted for a while. But it’s been 6 months or so and those songs are now just lovely songs again. I’m sure that’s what you’ll have with Bob again in no time!

    On a brighter note, it is really amazing the power that music has on us and our psyche/mood, isn’t it?

  23. Ugh, I know. It’s the memories that songs have of my past relationships that kills me. But, those men will always make me smile when I hear the songs we shared on the radio. I think you know you are totally over a relationship when you can listen to those songs and smile. However, it does suck when you loose materialistic items in a breakup. I once had an ex take this expensive leather belt I had. Oh well.

  24. I once thought that loving someone meant you shared everything, but moments like that, where a memory you once used to cherish now bring feelings of woe and disappointment, I’ve discovered that the one thing you must keep to yourself at all times is your head. A cd as great as it is (Bob Dylan is pretty solid) is always replaceable but those memories and all the time spent with that person is not. The only thing about that person that is replaceable is that fact that you can replace that person with a better person, which is always great comfort. you never know, the better person may buy you a new cd, along with a complete anthology and original cover art by the infamous Bobby D.
    keep sharing. your among friends of common thought.

  25. BeneathTheSpinLight

    My ex had just gotten out of a relationship when I met him so I made him a mix CD to mend his broken heart (so I, in turn, could steal it… honest intentions, I swear.) Turns out, when he broke my heart, I wouldn’t be able to listen to the songs I normally relied on.
    The good news is that eventually you stop giving a shit and realize that excellent music is still excellent music, with or without the boy. 🙂

  26. No! That’s terrible that your relationship has ruined such great music for you. My friend lived next to these girls who dated new guys every week and they would listen to the same sequence of music: happy/girly (on Mon., Tues., and Wed.)-sad (on Thur. and Fri.)-badass (empowering?) rap (on Sat. and Sun.). So if they can listen to the same music over again, maybe you can when you find a beautiful, non-jerk Bob Dylan lover. That was my sad attempt at being helpful.

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  28. Nice post. I understand how a breakup can do that. Music has always been important to me and to the people close to me, so I have many memories connected to songs and bands. It could be places you go or other things to do as well. It’s a shame when something like what you describe happens.

  29. I really understand what you mean – and yours is a lovely way of putting it! I guess when we date someone we think might be ‘the one’ we share our most important things, including music, only to realize later that we really wish we hadn’t! …I think you will never forget a song that recalls you of your ex – but time heals pain and you will always find new songs that make your heart beat!

  30. I thank god that my ex loved Richard Marx. But to borrow a line, I should have known better than to live with a guy who liked Richard Marx over the classics. Nothing but trouble there.

  31. You might be able to make do with some of his latest albums, maybe not Together Through Life. But Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft seem like good choices. As for the 60s rock trilogy, I thought Bringing It All Back Home was the best for a long time, so you might find comfort there.

  32. Fantastic post 🙂 Luckily I never had to do much of the untangling of lives, but I still get caught out with people borrowing things from me – and then of course you forget who borrowed what… (aarrrggghhh!)

  33. Broke up an year ago and couldn’t get my stuff back yet. After 5 years of a great relationship (that ended up ending with greater surprise – for me) I still think it’s too soon, or it’s just too painful or even annoying though it’s already time… I’m just not ready – and maybe I won’t find out whenever I am since I keep avoiding it. °°

  34. Ah, you should have seen trouble coming–the Michigan sweatshirt. Can’t trust those people.

    It is good to hear that you like Blond on Blond and H61R. You would like my 20-something son. He has the notes of “no direction home” from Like A Rolling Stone tattooed on his forearm, inclusive staff and music lines.

    Time is on your side, Kathleen. Game on.

  35. Good old Bob Dylan – one of my favourite lyrics of his is: ‘I’m not saying you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don’t mind / You just kind of wasted my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s alright.’ Every time I feel another relationship has come to nothing, it pops into my head. I love the laconic dignity of it – all that bitterness and pain behind such misleadingly casual, even facile, words – you kind of, sort of, destroyed me. It’s great – incredibly comforting – better than therapy any day!

    I enjoyed your post and admire your candour. Thanks for sharing – and I hope you get Bob back.

  36. When the rooster crows at the break of dawn
    Look out your window, and I’ll be gone
    You are the reason I’m carrying on,
    Don’t think twice, it’s all right !

    Goodbye is too good a word, babe
    So I”ll just say, Fare Thee Well

    Cheers !

  37. Easily, one of the better posts that I have seen on Freshly Pressed. I think that you have taken the first and only step in reclaiming Mr. Dylan: you got it off of your chest and out there. Relationships that end, end for a larger reason. That reason is to teach us something about us, about who we were. I think you should listen to the cd again, but do it from the perspective of appreciating who you were and who you are now.

    Go ahead, try it.

  38. myheartresonateswithaglorioussound

    great post!
    I hate it when bad relationships ruin a good Artist….with certain songs I used to love, even now I can’t stomach them when they come on the radio

  39. juliannebrock

    Don’t ever let a man take Bob Dylan from you! Lose the guy, get Bob. He’s all a woman needs.

    And if you really want to change things up but keep some of the good ol’ days, check out the Rolling Stones’ cover of Like A Rolling Stone.

    Good luck!

  40. Oh, that’s distressing. Breaking-up is really the saddest part in a relationship. Time does heal the wounds, but still you’ll find it uneasy hearing those songs over and over again. Find a different artist with songs that could cheer you up.

    In life everything happens for a reason, seize the day.

    Online Parenting Class

  41. Love the writing.
    Also I can introduce you to other CDs, completely different from Bob Dylan’s.

    As for everything else… one just never know what maybe around the corner
    Esmeralda 😉

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  43. pinkcyanide

    agreed! some things just get tainted forever by the memories after a breakup. the things that used to make you smile make you want to cry or bash someone’s head in.

    But you move on and find other things to love and hate. just think about the “why” rather than the “what” and you’d reclaim Bob Dylan all for yourself! 🙂

    good luck!

    p.s. if you read just general rantings and what not of another 20 something here’s a link to my blog

  44. This, young singleton, is one of the reasons I tend to stay behind closed curtains. When the end of a relationship is near, probably due to my inability to connect such as yourself, I’m able to turn away, engulf myself in my trench coat as the rain pours down on me.

    What’s even MORE empowering, is hearing my songs without any remorse. In fact, they sound stronger. It’s just me and music. It’ll never betray me.

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