I have shared personal things before, but I have not shared about this. It makes me uncomfortable, really. But it is a story. And I don't think I can continually write about other parts of my life and not this one.
This is honest, this is raw, it is full of truth. It is painful and beautiful and joyful and so hard because my relationship has been all of those things.
Terms we use to describe things are so definitive. So box-like. "But are you dating?" People say. "Well, you're either in a relationship or you're not. It can't just change all the time."
My relationship has been fluid the way the rest of the things in the world are fluid. The way other people's relationships are fluid. The way people cheat on each other and never tell anyone, staying together. The way people date people but secretly love others. The way people get married. The way people get divorced.
My story is the story of two people who are so different but so much the same. Who love one another in the unconditional way you love family members but who are too interested in separate things to be capable of staying together.
It has been one of the biggest heartbreaks of my 23-year-old life to be forced to learn that love is sometimes just not enough.
And I am difficult. I change my mind all the time. I never want to be around. I want to travel the entire world and move here and move there and open a business and then sell it and then be convinced I'll go back to school at 3 different places before I settle on a fourth. I meet new people and get excited. I can't sit still, but I've wanted to.
I've dated other people in between, but I always return back to Eric.
I've been in love with Eric since I was in 10th grade, and he was in 8th, maybe before but definitely after he snuck into my room one night and we kissed. He was my brother's best friend, someone my mom told me to stay away from after I confessed my love for him, because "he's Damon's friend, not yours." And so it began then, this back and forth, this always returning to what has been the only constant, consistent thing in my life.
And then finally, a year after Damon's accident, we started dating. Nobody understood it, but I could not have been happier. It was magic, it was perfect, it was everything that books and movies describe as true love happily ever after.
But we started to grow up. We both changed. I changed a lot. And we grew in different directions. But our love somehow, inexplicably, still stayed the same.
"I love you," one of us will say to the other. "I don't know why, but I do."
How is it one of the cruel parts of life that a person I love so unbelievably much, is not someone I can be happy with?
I love this person. This person who shows me all of himself. Who loves me more than anything in the world. He is so patient, so kind, so gentle, when I am the opposite. We are both so silly, so comfortable with each other. We understand one another.
And we've been through a lot. We've been through me deciding on a whim to end things 3 times, either because I found someone who suddenly felt more interesting or because I felt like I had changed too much. We've shared the same tragedy. We've been through family deaths, divorce. We've been through me going on trips and being uncommunicative and him betraying me in the worst way possible because there were emotional needs of his not being met.
And I found strength and unconditional love in going back again and again and working through things together and watching us both mature and really believing every time that this time it would work, this time it must.
I don't believe this is unhealthy. I don't believe it's a bad pattern. Maybe it is for some people, in some instances, where people are abusive or yell and scream at each other or treat each other badly, but that wasn't ever us.
I think humans are conditioned to believe that this is an unhealthy thing, returning back to someone. Or still loving someone that we leave. So we shame people who do it, shame people who stay with someone who's cheated on them, shame people who break up and get back together. We talk as if we can ignore all biology and act like the only "right" way to do a relationship is to have there be a man and woman who date, have only a few insignificant problems, get married, stay together, and live happily ever after. In a box.
And whose relationship is actually like that? No one I know, to be sure. Why can't we be with lots of people that make us happy, in our own way, whatever that is for us, when it feels right?
And so to me it is just this heartbreaking thing that there is this person existing who I love with literally all of my heart that I cannot be with because we have such separate ideas of what we value, what we want to do, how we want our lives to go.
Why, life? Why do you do that?
So I have some people looking and saying "why are you even dating" and some people saying "wow you're in Thailand you must have the perfect life." As people do. And really it is both things. Because yes we are in Thailand and it is amazing. And at the same time it is overshadowed by the fact that we will come home and I will go away to school and Eric will go back to work and he will be happy doing what he likes to do and being where he likes to be and I will be happy going the other way, not able or stable enough to give my full attention to another person right now. Part of me wants to. But part of me can't. And the part of me that can't has been growing stronger, and is now much louder.
The reality is just that now is not the time for it to work. Maybe it will never work. And yet I cannot imagine this person not being in my life. And we are away together in Thailand. And we are not dating. And all of those things have to coexist at once.
ps. yes, Eric is okay with me posting this.