A year ago this week, I went on a first date with a guy I’d met a couple of months prior. I enjoyed the occasional interactions we had prior to that time and I was intrigued by him. On the first date, and on the many that followed, we talked effortlessly, for hours. As I got to know him, I discovered a man who was nothing like I’d first imagined, but one that I cared for and connected with. We dated for three months, broke up, and started dating again after a five months hiatus. Though we’d been broken up those 5 months, we stayed in touch and became pretty good internet friends, due in large part to lengthy and interesting conversation via gchat. We dated again for three or four months and then the relationship, once again, went belly up.
Though I’d been happy the first few months we dated, I was unprepared for just how happy I was and could be the second go around. I was content and felt safe being myself. I felt I was with someone who understood and accepted me. As in all relationships, there were a couple of notable disagreements, but unlike the first time we’d dated, we seemed to be able to talk things out (though perhaps, in retrospect, the underlying concerns we each had were never adequately resolved). My chief concern came to a head once again, and we went the rounds. Finally, after days and days of feeling that I was neither being heard nor understood, I decided that things had to end. As I saw it, we couldn’t move forward without really addressing the issue, and it didn’t seem to be something he was interested in, at least not at the time. The month that followed was difficult for a lot of reasons. He seemed upset with me for what had happened, which made him cold and mean, which in turn instinctively thrust me into “mending” mode (I abhor conflict and having people be upset with me), which made my words (i.e. reconciliatory) incongruous with my actions (i.e. the break-up). We halfheartedly tried dating again for a few weeks, but by then it seemed the distance between us was too large to traverse. We couldn’t seem get back into our rhythm. The end result was me realizing I’d fallen in love with him, and his deciding (seemingly) that he was no longer interested in working on the relationship.
Now that it’s over I find myself filled with a profound sense of loss. Not only for what was, but for what could have been. The pain seems more acute this time because it took a lot for me to give myself over to him and trust him a second time. I miss the person who became my best-friend. I miss the long talks, both serious and silly, the playful banter, his love of projects and problem solving, his hand on the small of my back as we’d make our way through a crowd, the little kisses in the kitchen while he fixed me dinner, the way I fit perfectly against his chest. But mostly I miss my friend.
I saw a film at Sundance this week called Like Crazy (it won the Grand Jury Prize at the festival and you should check it out). The story follows a couple that meet and fall head-over-heels for each other while at university in California. She is from the U.K. and encounters visa issues, eventually forcing their relationship to become a long-distance one when she has to leave the country. The film follows the challenges they face trying keep their relationship alive. The film left me feeling decidedly melancholy. Seeing the sadness and awkwardness of a couple trying to get their once happy and beautiful relationship back on track hit way too close to home.
In my own situation, I am finding it hard to shake the feeling that if we could put aside the drama of the limbo and the break-up, things would be what they were before. Whether that means things could work out in the long term, I don’t know, but dammit if it doesn’t make it hard to walk away.