…and I’m back! It was brilliantly glorious to be without internet and cellphone service for three days. The first day I was going through an anxious withdrawal, feeling very cut off and absolutely sure that something horrible was going to happen that I wouldn’t know about because I was so cruelly cut off from the world. The second day, I was basking in the serenity of knowing no one could reach me. I didn’t have to be available! For anyone! I could shower without worrying that my phone would ring. I could go to sleep without the wary alertness that I might receive a text message from mi’lady. It was positively LIBERATING. And then going back to the fully wired reality… it was welcome, but not needed. I think I need to take technology vacations every once in a while. And perhaps relax a bit on the idea of needing to be constantly available.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working through some weirdness. It sprang up seemingly out of the blue. Mi’lady and I were tangled up in her bed, post-sex, marvelling about how we’ve been together almost nine months and it seems both much shorter than that (we haven’t settled into taking each other for granted! joy!) and much longer (how could we possibly have learned each other so well in such a short amount of time?). “You’re quickly moving into the rank of Second Longest Relationship!” she said, “as long as we stay together another month and a half, you’ll beat B.” I laughed, and said “my goal is to be your longest relationship, and then some!” “Well you’re… let’s see… 3/8ths of the way there…” she said. (Funnily enough, she’s 3/8ths of the way towards becoming my longest relationship too. We’ve both been in significant 2-year relationships previously.)
And then she got quiet and pensive. The problem is, I feel like there’s this standard that her ex-girlfriend has set (the Longest Relationship girlfriend, that is). She still feels all kinds of pain about this break-up, which is now over two years ago. She feels bitter that her ex says she learned through their relationship that she could be loved, while mi’lady learned only that she could be broken. She says it was like all that work, all that energy, all that love, all that time, all for nothing. And she still gets hurt when her ex does things like untag herself from pictures on Facebook that they’re both in. Mi’lady says it feels like her ex is trying to erase her from her life. “What was the point?” she says.
Sometimes I’m afraid that forever and ever, despite anyone else who comes after, no matter how much she loves them, she will never quite love the same. She loves me, for sure, but somehow she’s endowed her ex with all this power, this ability to cause her pain like no one else ever had and ever will have. Obviously I don’t want to cause her that much pain. I don’t even want her to give me the capacity to cause her that much pain.
But what I do want is for her to realize that it’s not her ex that hurt her that much, it’s she who let herself be hurt. My belief is that she needs to let go of her, take away the power she’s given her to hurt her. She put all of herself into that relationship, every last little bit. So when she lost it, she lost herself too. The reason I know this is because I understand it all too well. I did the exact same thing with my Longest Relationship, and I lost myself when she broke up with me, too. But then I took myself back. I’m still struggling with keeping myself, and not give myself away entirely to mi’lady, as I tend to do. But I want to find that balance, of how much of myself to give in order to have a strong, sustaining, loving relationship. And I want her to find that balance too.
I don’t want her ex to have this mythic status. The one who broke her heart. Is that crazy? Is that unreasonable? Do I need to just let it go?