Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ninety-four days

I debated most of the drive home whether or not I should make this post.  I wondered whether it would even be appropriate, or if I could handle it, or if it's something I should have waited to post, but in the end I decided that capturing my feelings right this moment would be a valuable thing to do.  I could write it all down in a secret Word document to file away forever, but that's why I have this blog in the first place.  So, I'm posting it.  A little under two hours ago, my first boyfriend and I broke up.  We were a couple for ninety-four days.

Nobody did anything wrong, nobody was unfaithful, and nobody was angry at the end.  All in all, a pretty unremarkable breakup, only interesting because I was half of the couple.  He realized a few weeks ago that his feelings for me were of friendship, not of romantic love.  Being a caring guy, he waited until after Christmas to devastate me, for which I am appreciative.  I haven't even broken down crying yet.  I felt like it was possible a couple minutes after he gave the news to me, but it didn't happen then, and it hasn't happened yet.  It may happen still.  I considered not making this post because I thought it might force me to.

What I can't force is love, and because of that I didn't protest.  On one hand I didn't want to seem ungrateful for all the time we spent together, but on the other, I am respectful enough to acknowledge that if he went through the pain of telling me this and letting me down gently, he must be pretty sure of it.

I myself realized a few weeks ago that I really don't know what love is.  It was a first relationship for both of us, and I became to wonder just how much of what I thought were genuine love and affection was in fact excitement at the very new phenomenon of having a warm body held against mine, and lips pressed to mine.  A few weeks ago, our interactions began to change.  Obnoxiously cutesy emotes conveyed through instant messages were replaced with "good night."  Due to final exams and the holidays it was becoming impossible for us to find any time to be together, and I wasn't sure if the decrease in affection I'd been noticing was fallout of that or something far worse than the effects of extended absence.  Clues were there.  That's when I realized that we rarely had any particularly deep conversations—after all, those take time, and we didn't seem to ever have enough of it—but if I was to know for sure whether I was falling in love or making out with a friend, we would need to have them.  I was going to propose tonight that we force ourselves to have more meaningful talks from time to time.  But, he had already figured things out.

That's actually the only thing that bothers me about being on this end of the breakup—it's not necessarily true that if he sees us as only friends, that I see us the same way.  I wasn't sure yet how I felt.  I felt like I was beginning to fall in love, but I was far from sure.  Maybe someday I'll have enough context and experience to really know how I felt here, if I can remember.  I hope to not forget.

I knew that our chances were slim, but they were chances well worth taking.  Whose first relationship actually lasts, after all?  I had hoped, but the pessimist in me constantly reminded me how unlikely it was.  We had a few things going against us.  They certainly didn't help our relationship—whether or not they hurt it is a topic one could debate.  The biggest, though, was the age difference: I'm seven years older.  On one end of those seven years is a man who works full-time, lives on the east side of the bridge, and occasionally thinks he has everything figured out.  On the other is a college student who lives on the west side of the bridge, an hour and a half away in peak traffic.  Even though the scheduling difficulties that come from that may not necessarily have hurt our relationship directly, it certainly made things more challenging.

But even if I didn't learn anything from all this, which would be an unlikely shame, there's no way that all this could be a negative experience.  Versus a few months ago I've gained a great friend, learned more about how to be a boyfriend, and in all lame-greeting-card-slogan honesty, experienced feelings I never really knew about.  Hopefully this will all help me out if I ever meet the guy I'm to spend the rest of my life with, if he exists.  I'm crushed now, but that will pass. I'm a better person.

I was about to jokingly say that "of course, I could have been a better person with a boyfriend," but that's not correct.  It's not like I had two options and I picked one.  This is just the way it worked out, and there's no blame to be assigned.  (To quote Morpheus from the Matrix series, "What happened, happened, and couldn't have happened any other way.")  Yes, I might cry at some point.  Yes, I'm sure I'll be sad and down for what will seem like far, far too long.  That seems to be the way it works.  But I'm not sorry.  Travis is perpetually joyful, and there were more than enough happy memories, along with a friendship that can hopefully survive a breakup.  I do wish him the best, and I want him to be happy, and I'm proud of myself for there being nothing sarcastic or passive-aggressive or dishonest in that.

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