Friday, April 6, 2012

The fourth option

This post has been taunting me.  I wrote it the day after Jason and I broke up—Sunday, 27 November 2011.  That was more than four months ago.  It's been sitting here in my drafts folder since then.  I never change it or reread it.  It just mocks me and I can never bring myself to actually post it.  I wanted to write Comfort before posting this one, but I planned on writing that post the very next day.  I need to just publish it and get it over with, because I think that knowing that it exists is causing me writer's block, and I actually like writing.  So here goes.

* * * * *

Jason and I broke up last night.  Or more specifically, early this morning.  But I'm not sure that's accurate.  I think we broke up slowly over the past couple months and we're just admitting it now.

That's the second time we've broken up if you're counting.  (We were together for a total of three years, which I suppose is basically a lifelong partnership in gay-stereotype years.)  And not coincidentally, this was my second time breaking up with someone.  The first time it happened it was a surprise, at least to me.  That was the "oh man, I didn't realize that you felt that way" breakup.  This one was different.  It wasn't the violent-explosion or the I-don't-love-you-anymore or the I-met-someone-else or any of those common archetypes I've learned from TV and movies.  No, this one was different and considerably less dramatic.  This one was the "I love you so much, but the things that we want from a relationship are just too different" breakup.

It was not a surprise.  The eventual timing of it all certainly was, but the eventuality of it wasn't much of one.  We talked about this breakup a year ago, or maybe even a year and a half ago, when we first realized that we wanted things that were a little different.  Back then, there were three options: there was "Travis wins," where Jason changes his opinions about something and we become compatible.  Then there was "Jason wins," where Travis changes his opinions about something and we become compatible.  And then of course there's "compromise," where we find a way to make things work.  And we set out toward making one of those outcomes work out, focusing primarily of course on the third option.

But that didn't happen.  Perhaps we're indeed too stubborn and love is worth trading anything for and we're idiots for giving up, but every way we looked at it, it seemed like the story was that we were together forever, each with the man we loved, and somehow still unhappy about it.  That's something I'd never foreseen in all my thoughts and imaginings of the future—the possibility that I could find someone, fall in love with him, and that still there would be something that would prevent us from being happy, together, forever.

(I realize that my vagueness in not explaining in excruciating detail what is keeping us from being happy together may be annoying.  Hopefully this all still makes enough sense though.)

It wasn't long until I realized that even in the "Travis wins" scenario, Travis still loses because he has to live with the fact that Jason gave up something intrinsic to his very nature to make it work, and vice-versa.  A lot of things are worth changing or compromising for love—perhaps almost everything— but what if being together is what is killing your love?  We looked for a year for a way to write a different ending to the story and couldn't find one.  And that left us with just one option—the scary fourth option that we were quite aware existed from the start, but both refused to acknowledge: ending things.

Perhaps we really have taken a cowardly way out.  Truly dedicated people would stick it out no matter what the cost, no matter what the pain, and no matter how bitter the ending seemed.  But a year is a long time to spend searching for a path up a mountain.  We know that the peak has an amazing view, but after a year circling the mountain with no path upward in sight and no progress made toward the destination, the logical decision has to be to turn around and head home.


Günter said...

Great post, Travis. I was sorry to hear about this.

Günter said...

That is: "that sucks, dude."

Travis said...

Nicely done.

Andy Misle said...

I thought it was very well-written, for you not looking it over since then. Very heartfelt.