On the evening of the one thousand and second day after our first date, and after a particularly intense disagreement, we lay across my bed, I, the little spoon and he, the familiar big spoon. There was an awkward quiet, and as I began to relax into him, words spilled from my lips.
I think we need to break up.
We laid together in silence. I could hear him breathe, and I knew he was carefully considering what to say next. I couldn’t see his face, and I waited for him to say something, anything that would make everything better. I waited. I waited for a sign. I waited for him to tell me everything would be okay. I bargained with myself in my head: If he kissed me, right then, I would fix it, I would apologize, I would make it better.
He didn’t kiss me.
He moved and sat on the edge of the bed; quiet. I laid my head in his lap. If he puts his fingers in the curls at the back of my neck, I’ll take it back, I thought. My eyes were scrunched together and I waited. Just do it, I willed him, in my mind. I wanted to undo everything. I wanted to take it all back, though I knew I shouldn’t.
Before he left, he said to me, “This is stupid.” I wanted to agree with him, but I bit my tongue, hard.
::Last chance to take it back:: he texted me, ten minutes after he drove away. ::we could make this a break, instead of a break up?::
I put my phone down and burst into tears. They weren’t pretty tears, rather they were the soul-shredding sobs that come occasionally in one’s life, the ugly tears you always remember, with a bitter knot in your throat.
Sometimes you love someone so much that you cannot be together anymore. Sometimes the misalignment of your needs and wants becomes so apparent to one or both of you, that the pain you are causing each other becomes impossible to ignore. You try to compromise, to concede, to put individual needs aside for the good of the relationship as a whole. You adjust and readjust. And lots of relationships are able to grow stronger through the process.
But. Maybe you swallow down your hurt so many times that eventually it rises up and threatens to choke you.
And that’s when it’s time to step back, no matter how much love you have; no matter how much time you have together. No matter how much it hurts to take a different path.
Because believe me, this hurts.
I don’t know why I need to write this down. I want my love to know that I value our time together, and that I am grateful for the things that he taught me. He expanded my view of the world. He showed me different ways to deal with hard situations. He taught me to love and value myself. He showed me that I was loving and lovable, that I could be affectionate and sexual. He was there when my child was life-flighted out of state, and he drove to Oregon to collect me after my own car accident. He took me new places, and taught me how to pee in the woods. He loved and laughed with me, held me when I cried, read to me, smiled at me often and fed me delicious food. All these good things he gave freely, and joyfully, because he loves me.
Because of him, I believe in love again.
We are searching for a new dynamic, he and I. You may see us together; you will see us apart. I cannot simply quit him, though I wonder if that would be somehow gentler on both of us. We are not ready to be completely without each other; not yet.
Not just yet.