A partial goodbye

Ok, I’ve been holding out on you all for a couple of months now.   A fairly major event happened in March and I’ve almost blogged about it numerous times. 

Jazmine and I broke up.

Ok, some of you know about this, especially if you were following me on twitter during March.  The bottom line is that this was a good thing for us, in the big picture.  Polyamory was a bad fit for Jaz, she wants to be with someone she can be devoted to, and vice versa.  I was never going to be that person and the weight of guilt I felt about that grew and grew over time.  Regardless how smart and logical and right breaking up was, it was really, really fucking hard for a while afterward.  We tried to keep up our friendship, but Jaz realized pretty quickly that we needed space from each other, to deal with the loss, to find a new way to relate.  I didn’t always react very maturely, in fact, I went on Twitter soon after and said some things I regret now.  I want to apologize to her, here: 

“Jaz, our relationship was not just about the sex, and losing you was not just about losing a sexual partner.  I was in love with you, I adored you, I wanted like hell to work something out so we could keep the intimacy we both enjoyed so much.  I’m sorry I was a crass ass in public, you deserved better and I could have blown off steam elsewhere.  I’m very sorry I hurt your feelings.  I love you a lot.”

If you were reading my blog last fall and into the winter, you know Jaz and I were already starting to transition the shape of our relationship back then.  She’d met another woman, someone who was increasingly special to her.  We promised each other that when it came time to change our relationship, we’d do it with respect and love and we’d help each other through it.  Eventually she came to me to let me know they were in love and she wanted to start spending more time with her, and less time with me.  That was really, really hard.  But we both stuck with it, kept talking, kept loving each other.   It has always been important to both of us to preserve our friendship, to hang on to what we could, no matter what happened with our intimate relationship.  

 And so it was in March that the final chapter of our romantic relationship was written.  She decided to move forward with her new girlfriend in a monogamous relationship.  The week before this happened, I’d already begun picking up on changes in how she spoke to me, her reactions to my flirty comments.  A pause there, a sigh here, something had changed and I had a pretty good idea what it was.   I knew it was only a matter of time before I got my pink slip, but ever the optimist, I’d been hoping it was still a little ways off.  

I guess she was going to tell me when I went to her house that Friday, but it actually came out during a phone call a couple of days before that.  I heard certain ‘tells’ in her voice and I called her on it.  God that was a painful conversation.  She really didn’t want to have that particular conversation over the phone, but it ended up being the best thing for us.  Being physically separated at that moment allowed us to stay much more composed than if we’d been face to face.  So when I asked her, she confirmed my suspicion:  that Friday would be our last date.  The last overnight.  Our last opportunity to kiss, make love, have sex. 

I cried.  I sat outside on a bench at work and my eyes leaked, hard.  She cried too, but she didn’t have to worry about someone walking up and asking what was wrong.  I had to get it together so I could go back to work. 

And I don’t know who I am, who I am without you,
all I know is that I should,
And I don’t know if I can stand another hand upon you,
all I know is that I should

It was almost an out of body experience, going through my day on Friday and knowing it was the last night for us.  I knew driving up to her apartment that it’d probably be a long long time before I did that again.  I pulled into the parking lot and walked toward her door without the bounce in my step I would normally have had.  I felt heavy and hurt and I felt the loss but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to spend this time with her.

We spent that night and into the next morning talking and holding each other and saying goodbye to this part of our relationship.  We agreed that it was so much better to have talked earlier about what that night meant and what would happen after.  That allowed us to use our time loving each other.  It’s a crazy thing and very hard to let go of someone you’re still in love with, for whom the physical attraction is so strong.  But we were both in the same boat on that.  This wasn’t a break up because someone fell out of love, or stopped being physically attracted or stopped wanting to be around the other.  We broke up because she needed to move forward with someone else and remaining in a relationship with me wasn’t possible anymore. 

The sun came up the next day, like it always does and it was my birthday.  We were both feeling a bit numb, still tearing up pretty easily and, of course, neither of us had slept well.  We kissed and held each other tightly as I stood near the door.  We pulled back, staring at each other, trying to record the moment, I’m sure.  I was pulling away to leave and she grabbed my face and pulled me in for another kiss.  I’ll never forget the look in her eyes, or that feeling.  That is the only last kiss I can remember having with someone I broke up with.  It’s burned into my memory.

There’s a lot of talk about win-win situations and how you can quite often negotiate situations so that both parties walk away with some win.  That’s not what happened that night, not from my perspective.  I lost.  She won the freedom to explore and expand on her new relationship.  I lost the intimacy and closeness we had.   Ok, I know she felt loss, too, but excuse me the occasional bout of bitterness, would ya?

What she and I did that night, openly loving each other while going through the process of letting go of each other, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It was also absolutely right and loving and responsible.  She was expecting me to get angry, to lash out, she told me as much.  And certainly being angry during a break up has its benefits:  it powers you through the emotionally painful parts.  It also burns everything to the ground and leaves a toxic area in its wake, and that’s not how either of us wanted it to go.  We didn’t want to destroy our whole relationship because we had to let go of the physical portion of it.   She’s my best friend, she knows me in ways no one else in the world does, I don’t want to lose that connection.

And so I sit here, with some tears in my eyes from reliving this, from witnessing again the hard beauty of what we did together, how we came together and reunited after 25 years, loved each other hard and deep and then pulled apart because it was the right thing to do.  Lately we’ve been talking more and hopefully we can find time to see each other again soon, do lunch or something.  We’re attempting to write a new chapter in our very long relationship, something positive.  Wish us luck?

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