The following is a guest post from Romantic in the big city. One of my gay blogging buddies.
A friend told me I was overreacting to my most recent break up because the guy wasn’t even officially my boyfriend. It didn’t matter to my friend that I spent 6 months with this guy. It didn’t matter he said he loved me and I said I loved him. It didn’t matter we flew across the world multiple times for each other. All that mattered to my friend was that we never had the title, and therefore I shouldn’t have felt the pain that comes when a relationship breaks. But who said something has to have a name in order for it be real, and why is a label the only way to justify the pain?
Gay culture is filled with a lot of “almost” relationships. I know I am not the only one to fall for someone who let them down or someone who was too scared to commit. I think it’s the norm in gay culture for these relationships to exist. It’s sad, but it’s true. Maybe it’s just the guys I’ve met, but I’ve heard numerous stories from friends hurting from what could have been than actually hurting from what once was. Almost relationships leave you with too much room of “what if,” whereas labeled relationships live out the “what if’s.”
My last relationship ended because he was also seeing someone else the same time as me. It was someone he always told me was one of his friends and I had absolutely nothing to worry about. But in turn he was telling that guy the same things about me. I think he and I held very different definitions for the word friend.
Eventually he told me the truth, but said he loved me and wanted to be with me. So being a fool in love, I flew out to Australia a few weeks later to be with him. While there however he changed his mind, said he wanted the other guy, and left me alone in his apartment while he went to go make amends with him.
I was crushed, confused, and completely emotionally numb. I packed my bag and flew home the next day hoping he would chase after me. But a week after I was back, he was already in a relationship with the other guy. And that’s when it all hit me and I finally felt myself break. Even now, months later, I still feel myself breaking.
In the end, after he apologized and asked me to stay in his life as a friend, I blocked him and walked away. I had to give myself the love he never gave me in return, and if he wasn’t going to choose me, I was going to choose me. But that might have been the hardest thing. How do you easily cut out someone who means so much to you?
Looking back at everything I wonder if what he ever felt was real. He told me he never wanted me to doubt his feelings, but how could I not? He left me for someone else, and if he would have loved me like he said, he never would have hurt me like that. But despite what he felt, everything about the relationship felt real. Maybe it wasn’t real on his end. Maybe it was. Yet all the things he made me feel, and all that love I poured into him, that was real. That was all real for me.
Now I’m left with too many questions and no one who can answer them. I’m stuck with all my “what if’s.” What if he would have picked me in the end? Would I have been happy? But the thing is I will never know. I will never know why he changed his mind. I will never know how many lies he told the other guy to make him stay. I will never know what we could have become if he wasn’t a liar or a cheat. I will never know the role I played in his life or if he wrote me off like I meant nothing. This is why almost relationships can be so much harder than actual ones.
So titles have nothing to do with pain. When someone enters your life, convinces you to care for them and then decides to leave, you’re allowed to hurt. You’re allowed to grieve. You’re allowed to think about all the “what if’s.” So don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t feel pain over losing someone you never had an “official” relationship with. Because Shakespeare once wrote that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, and my ex and I by any other name was still an us.
If you liked this post, please go over to Romantic in the big city’s blog.
Read the full story on this relationship from meeting to the end.