Me: How did that change our relationship?
Michael: I think it changed for the better. I think we realized we were meant to be friends and were oil and water. But we also realized through everything we have a strong friendship.
Me: But how do you think it changed things when we were still a couple for that last year?
Michael: Oh yeah. I forget we were still a couple after that.
Me: Which is funny because when I was writing that intro earlier, I was trying to explain there are no cut-and-dry, black-and-white lines in our relationship, that I felt like it ended then but we just never said the words and were technically together for another year. That’s why I think I have been able to forgive myself and forgive you for some of the things that, in more typical circumstances, could have been hurtful but weren’t as important given where we were.
Michael: Right. You were stubborn about it and tried to convince yourself it could work from September 15 to August 16 and then I kind of noticed you had gotten to the point I’d been at for a while where you knew it was over but didn’t want to say it. I’d say I didn’t know for sure until early October when we broke up and you started sharing some of your thoughts with me that I knew you’d been ready to move on with your life for a while.
Me: All things considered, in spite of the fact that you determined you were bisexual or gay and wanted to experiment, how did you feel that towards the end of our relationship I was really checking out, especially since–and I think it’s fair to say–I had always been the more committed one?
Michael: I felt hurt. I started seeing it slowly happen in September. I felt a little hurt but also felt more relief because I realized I didn’t feel as guilty for our history.
Me: Do you care if I ask if you were still doing the chatting thing during the last month or so of our relationship? Because I felt like you didn’t really stop after that summer in 2015 but I haven’t really been concerned enough to think about it. Also, know I don’t care if you did.
Michael: I don’t know. I might have been but I might not have been even though I did before. A lot of things just blend together now and it’s hard to remember things concretely.
Me: Were you angry with me that I was quitting? I actually don’t know this one,
Michael: Initially, yes but when I paused and realized how long you’d been trying to make it work and how much we had been through, I started realizing it was only fair that you got to move on and I was relieved you were starting to think of it considering I thought if we ended things you would have been hurt for a really long time.
Me: Is there anything you would change about how all of this happened? Things I did or said? Things you did or said?
Michael: I think the one thing I would change is telling you sooner and not be afraid that you would react in a way that I couldn’t handle. And just not do the stuff I did and be up front and honest with you.
Me: Why did you think I would react like that? Which is fair, I’m kind of a hothead.
Michael: I felt that despite your acceptance of LGBT people in general, in that situation your emotions would run high and you wouldn’t be as tolerant because it was too personal. Oh, I have my meeting soon.
Me: Okay we can wrap this up and talk later but just making sure, are you okay?
Michael: I’m just a little, I don’t know, sad.
Michael: Because I wish I had just done things differently. That I hadn’t done some of the more hurtful things.
Me: Ehh, I think the one thing this has taught me is relationships are messy and if you’re going to let yourself care about somebody that much, you have to accept that there will be some lack of congruence between your feelings and them needing to be free-willed humans who are just figuring things out. I did things too that I think I will always wish I could be different, that I will be afraid define me which is why I still always feel like I have to atone or I want to talk about it, walk through the things I might have done on my side but I think I’m taking a page from your book on this one and accepting that some things, like your identity and these questions regarding your sexuality, are bigger and eclipse the things that are maybe influenced by it.
Michael: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s why I have gotten to a point where I don’t feel guilty anymore and it makes me feel, I don’t know, more free or more relieved. I just didn’t think you would get to the same point and so now that you have and that you’re not caught up on things I did wrong or you did wrong like you were when we were still together and you were hurt, it can actually feel like it doesn’t have to be as big of a thing.
Michael had a meeting to get to so we ended the conversation but we may finish it up later this week or month and he is going to be writing his own guest-post as a follow-up. If he finishes it today (9 years of experience suggests that won’t happen), I will post it tomorrow. If not, I have my own ready to go.