I probably never really made clear why I decided to come visit. About two weeks ago, Kevin called and we were talking (while I was staying at Jed's). The topic of my getting seriously involved with someone else came up (fairly hypothetically). He got kind of stressed; of course, he knew it would happen eventually, that that was part of the deal when you broke up with someone. Not that we've been so strict about the break-up...which is part of the problem, of course. Oof -- it's difficult talking about this without needing to backtrack over and over and over again, because most of you know almost nothing about the break-up. Quick recap with relevant details:
We dated for nine years. In that time, we lived together for three years, here and there. We lived down the street from each other for about two years, off and on. We were long-distance the rest of the time...sometimes very long distance. We saw each other pretty often even then. We talked erratically -- sometimes almost every night, sometimes not at all for a week or two. Some of those conversations lasted all night. Our record phone conversation was somewhere around eleven hours. We love(d) each other lots. We had all the big conversations -- marriage, kids, work, time, etc. A little conflict here and there about poly stuff...but mostly not. The last couple of years of our relationship were marked with growing stress due to some pretty different plans for our separate futures. We couldn't seem to find a way to make them mesh, despite the best will in the world. I spent May of 2001 living with him in Chicago; he'd bought a condo, and I helped him pick new flooring, buy furniture. I was planning on doing one more year in Utah, finishing up my classes, and then moving in with him. In June I went to California -- he was about to head to France for six weeks to do math. In early June, we had another long conversation on the phone...and realized that both of us had serious doubts about the wisdom of my moving in with him with all the long-term stuff unresolved. By the end of the conversation, we'd decided we really ought to break up.
Oof. It's funny, I can recap nine years in a paragraph, but it gives you no real sense of us, of him, of our relationship. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was something. Something worth fighting for. You know that line in The Princess Bride, about true love? Like that.
If you've been reading my poetry over the years, you probably have some idea.
I spent most of June and July alternately crying and coping. I found that I didn't really want to talk to anyone about it -- and that I couldn't, that when I tried, I just fell apart. I've never been so purely sad. By August, I was talking to people, and when school started in September, I threw myself into work. Or tried to. I didn't do so well at it; by the end of the semester, I was losing it again. Kev came out to visit twice -- the first time, we came *this* close to getting back together...just because it hurt so much being apart. The second time, we only discussed it briefly -- just long enough for each of us to make sure that the other person hadn't figured out a solution for the long-term stuff. (I'm sorry to be vague about the long-term stuff, but I'm already skirting the edges of feeling like this is an invasion of Kev's privacy -- just take it that there are a couple of big issues.) They were both wonderful visits; I was intensely happy when with him -- and wrecked when he had to leave.
The holidays were horrible. I kept myself as busy as I could with relatives and friends, and I survived, barely. My sisters were great.
I came back to Utah, and started this new semester on fellowship. I had lots of time to read, to write, to catch up on old projects. I started feeling a little saner, a little more in control. I went on a few dates. The idea of having Kevin as just my best friend...it wasn't what I wanted, but it sounded manageable. I still wasn't happy about how things had worked out, but I suppose I was becoming reconciled. That's where I was two weeks ago, when we talked, when he got upset, when he said that he'd really rather finish discussing it in person. So I agreed to come out.
I was worried about what it would be like, being here. I thought being in this condo, where I'd planned to live with him, might be too upsetting. But it's been okay -- I hadn't really made so much impact on the place last May; it doesn't feel like it had started becoming my home. I do envy him the high ceilings and the hardwood floors. Kinda miss those. Chicago's been fine too -- kind of miserably cold, but Utah was too, so it's not so bad. Mostly we've been staying in, getting used to being around each other again. Putting off the conversation we're supposed to have. Enjoying each other's company, maybe pretending a little that we're a couple again, maybe fantasizing a little about the way things could have gone... It's insanely good being with him. It makes me so blissful that I can't think straight.
We figured we'd wait 'til today to talk; I did want to spend some time with Roshani and her family (and wanted to do it while I was still relatively mellow, so *before* I talked to Kev, rather than after). Most of yesterday was given over to that. It would have been a good plan, but it got waylaid by some bad luck. Kevin sometimes has trouble sleeping; last night I went to bed at 3 a.m., which was bad enough, but he ended up not being able to sleep at all. I woke up tired and cranky at 8 a.m., and came into the tv room to find him sitting up, watching old MASH episodes. I finished that mystery I'd been reading, and then we watched an old Next Gen double-episode together, Time's Arrow. Good episode. By that point, I was getting hungry, and he was finally a little sleepy. He put himself to bed (around noon) and I headed off to Artopolis for lunch.
I suppose we could have tried to talk this morning, but he would have been exhausted -- didn't seem like a good plan. And now I'm not quite sure how things will work; we usually try to avoid serious relationship conversations at night, because my thyroid levels are usually dipping by then and I'm much more prone to irrationality and weepiness. Maybe we'll put it off 'til tomorrow morning -- I'm not flying out until dinnertime. But that seems a bit chancy. We'll probably just talk when he wakes up, and risk the weepiness.
I'm not actually expecting our talk to change anything. I haven't changed my mind about the things I want long-term, so unless he's changed his mind, I don't really see any solution other than staying broken up and working on being best friends. In poly terms, we could theoretically try to have a secondary relationship -- romantic, but clearly non-serious. But in practical terms, I'm nowhere near emotionally ready for that. There's no way I can be romantically involved right now without being head-over-heels for him...and I appear to be constitutionally incapable of feeling that way without needing a sense that we have a viable future together. It just drives me too crazy otherwise. Maybe someday, years from now.
Right now, it still feels like it would take years. But then again, last July I couldn't imagine what it would feel like to not be constantly miserable. And here I am. Still often sad, but it's no longer a constant tearing at the heart.
I guess I've been wanting to lay all this out for a while now -- I couldn't talk about it for a while, that's all. Thanks for all of you who listened when I called you up -- and thanks also to those of you reading this who respected my request to just leave it alone for a while. I really appreciated it. Some things don't heal if you keep poking at them. This visit -- it's probably mostly a form of poking at it. What can I say? Sometimes the temptation is just irresistible. But eventually, you learn better. Right? So I'm told, anyway...
Ain't love grand?