It was awkward — being downstairs in my room with you, the door closed, locking us in my windowless, basement room after a month of being broken up, sitting on the same chaise lounge that I had imagined us (in my more fantastical waking dreams) having break-up (or potentially make-up) sex on. In the way you sat angled just away from me, the way you held your head cocked slightly off to the side, the clench of your jawline that said you didn’t want to be here, exchanging stuff, meeting for the final time…I immediately knew that this last fantasy wasn’t going to happen. There was no going back from our break-up, even if I wished it so. You had the power. Had had it since August 16th.
So I waited for you to speak. You’d broken up with me. But then I’d had to call you. I’d had to set up our post-break-up meeting. It was your turn to do the heavy lifting again, to start the final conversation of our relationship that you’d decided to end a month before.
I waited. And after a few awkward seconds you spoke.
We talked about a lot (but also not a lot) in our fifteen or so minutes of conversation. You had an answer that was really a non-answer for why you’d ended things. You weren’t happy. (Even though you couldn’t point your finger on exactly why.) Not happy like you were when we first met. And our relationship was the cause of your unhappiness. As you put it, you knew that you could continue seeing me and it’d be fine…but then in two or three years you’d look back and realize that you could have had more fun if you hadn’t been with me. You would have had a better life, better experiences, if I weren’t in the picture.
You elaborated, saying that it had started to feel like a chore to see me. On the weekends you’d have to carve out time to spend with me, and you didn’t always want to. (I can see how that would make someone unhappy. I was that homework assignment that you had to do on the weekend instead of getting to hang out with your friends.)
You also said that you’d been feeling this way for a while, maybe the last three or four months. Which made sense to me when I thought back over the summer. You had grown more distant, though in my love-blinded daze, I hadn’t recognized it at the time.
All of this you said in a way of trying to soften the blow. You knew that I needed an explanation, and you tried to give it to me, even though you also knew that it wasn’t something easy for me to hear.
And for my part I tried to accept it — your rationale. Maybe it was something I actively did or didn’t do. Or maybe it was just the natural erosion of a relationship not meant to be.
Whatever the case, you were no longer happy being my boyfriend. You’d fallen out of love with me.
(This — your proclamation of your un-love for me — was the hardest thing for me to hear in our whole conversation. The words themselves, and the way you said them without a pause. It was an absolute truth. One you’ve lived with for a while but that I’m still coming to grips with. Falling out of love takes time. And I haven’t had enough of that yet. Of course I knew this had to be the case. You don’t break up with someone you’re still in love with. But it wasn’t something that I’d thought about before. It surprised me and hit me hard. This was the closest I came to crying. But I managed to hold it in, to keep a firm face in light of being told that I was no longer loved. I hope that you never have to face that. It’s not something that’s easy to take.)
And that was it. That was your spiel, your reasoning for breaking up with me. I can’t say that I completely understand it. But then I can’t say that I’m surprised by it either. I get it, even if it doesn’t make me happy.
The one thing that I’m really going to miss (and I brought this up with you in our conversation), is your friendship. You’ve always been a great friend. Caring and concerned. Happy to help out and support those you care about. You were always a great friend to your friends but also to me, your boyfriend. To be honest, you had become my best friend while we’d been dating. You were the person I told everything to. You were the one who encouraged me in everything I did. You were the one I always wanted to talk to, the one who, when funny or sad or strange or cool things happened in my day, I couldn’t wait to tell about it.
How am I going to get by without that now? I’ve already gone a month without speaking to you, and it was not an easy four weeks. There are things about my life that no one else is going to get. Inside jokes that are going to die now that we’re no longer together.
Even more than the sex and other intimate perks of being your boyfriend, I’m going to miss not knowing you. It’s the worst part of a break-up — losing a boyfriend but also a friend.
You were nice, though, saying that I shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to you if I need something. Don’t worry. I don’t plan on taking you up on that offer. But it was nice to hear. Maybe someday, when I’ve had time to get over you fully, we can try to be friends again. I’m not sure how that would work out. We met and started dating, became boyfriends, fell in love…We were never only friends.
Is there enough time that could pass where we could reset our relationship to nothing and be able to just be friends?
I doubt it. But I’m hopeful. I don’t know how my future self is going to feel. What I’ll want. What I’ll be able to get over.
As I let you out of my apartment, we said our last goodbyes. Even though you broke up with me a month ago, it feels like the first real day of being apart. I’m going to miss you tremendously. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with myself, with all this free time I now have. I don’t know how long I’m going to be sad. How long I’m going to miss you. How long it’s going to take me to get over you.
All I know is that today was it, you and I are over, broken up…at least for now.