On Break-ups That Could Never Last…

About that first post… A Year:  it seems the universe has granted us an extension, and, understandably, friends on both sides are begging caution. So to those friends who love us enough to wave that flag, I offer this post.

First of all, I won’t pretend to know everything about love, though most of us would probably agree that it’s the most amazing pain-in-the-ass, um… feeling? Commitment? It-that-can’t-be-defined… to both privilege and exasperate our humanity. And I can’t make sense of it, so I won’t try.  But I’m thinking some sort of review might be helpful; admittedly, I run the risk of striking more terror in the short-term (first few paragraphs), but hang with me to the end, where likely nothing will make more sense, but a reasonable sigh of inevitability and relief might prevail.


Match.com for me was supposed to be this terrifying passage where I endured a first lesbian relationship so that I could finally and officially embrace my “gay.” Somehow, to my mind, until there’d been a kiss, I couldn’t call it real. I blame that on one of you who asked, “What if you kiss a woman and hate it?” It didn’t seem likely, but it made me nervous nonetheless.

For Christy, Match was to be a dip in the pool of promiscuity. At 19, she’d committed to a relationship with the woman who was her first, a relationship that lasted 22 years.  She wanted nothing serious from Match, but maybe she could find some reasonable facsimile of collegiate abandon in the form of friendly bed-hopping and experimenting she’d missed at that point in her life.

Problem: As reasonable as either of those motivations seemed, mindless relationships didn’t suit either of our 40+ year-old selves. The wires, over the years, had twisted our introverted propensities into a desire for meaning. Ultimately, a meaningless kiss could never deliver the validation I wanted, and, frankly, after meeting a few women, I realized I wouldn’t be kissing anyone I didn’t feel some possibility with. And for Christy, kissing many, she came to understand, was a proposition far more exhausting than liberating.

So although disguised to ourselves in the garb we each thought we needed, the very way we behaved while on Match betrayed our true selves.

We wrote.

I was the first to become infatuated. On her profile, she said nothing about butch or femme but that she kissed her dog on the lips, loved snakes, and cried when Steve Irwin died; she was mostly vegetarian but couldn’t resist a good burger once in a while and don’t forget the sweet potato fries.  And her pictures—the giantest, most unnerving smile. Really… what’s a woman to do with all that but write.

I wrote with as much detail as I could muster, a detail that created enough intrigue and from which she began an inquisition of her other pursuers. Give me detail or it’s death to this “connection.” Lucky for me, they didn’t deliver 🙂

We met for a picnic on a rainy day in Eldorado Canyon State Park (Match suggests a public place in the event that one or the other is harboring an axe).  She was standing by her car wearing that same beautiful smile from the pictures, a sexy black halter top, green cargo shorts and sneakers (those of you bent on butch-femme labels, you tell me). I brought a bottle of red wine and pictures from my recent trip to South Africa and she brought an elaborate picnic of gourmet treats, the most memorable, a beet-mixed goat cheese of a fuchsia color I’d never seen in real food.  At some point the storm was too much so we continued our picnic in the car, followed by an Indian restaurant in Boulder. All told a six-hour Q & A of the sweetest sensibility a first-date could ever be. The next date, the Botanic Gardens, Root Down, more questions, another park, a first kiss, and in a month we were doing our version of the lesbian moving trailer… though we would share space on a block, four doors apart—not space in a house—not yet.

What happened that followed the move was the exciting rush that came of blending our differences as well as the recognition of their push and pull. We were similar in the best of ways—our values about our relationship and responsibility to this world. But our differences seemed, at times, profound, even as we cherished them. You’ll laugh to hear some of these, but imagine the day-in and day-out with them between you and someone you genuinely love:

  • To me, telephones are an unnecessary evil. Think of the hundreds of years humans existed without them, and, really, conversation between a gadget on the ear is just plain exhausting.
  • To her, telephones are a necessary evil. So… say one of us is out-of-town, we might use said gadget for a quick check-in, to share in the events passing without the physical presence of the other. What a concept.
  • To me, schedules are fluid.
  • To her, reservations at favorite restaurants are known to be lost after 15 minutes.
  • To me, tidiness is an afterthought.
  • To her, it is the preservation of thought.
  • To me, exercise is for the summer when papers are graded, grades are in, and sons’ school-year activities are on hold.
  • To her, exercise is sanity.
  • To me, a pseudo-healthy meal, once a week, will suffice.
  • To her, healthy eating is loving yourself and the people who share space at your table.

Now, any good reader will recognize that I am idealizing Christy; either of the positions in any of the above scenarios can be hurtful taken to extreme. But it’s what lovers do when they back away from the fight to reflect and re-discover what it is they love about the other.

But given that rather striking list, now that I look at it, why couldn’t we make a separation last? What drove us—despite vows that we would not make contact, that we would give each other the space to move on with our lives, the space we thought was respectful and loving—to reach out.

Deep breath… we just couldn’t NOT.  Somewhere in that crazy mix of humanity, there were more than a few moments when we struck this amazing chord of balance and respect and appreciation for each other’s deep and nuanced passions… for health, and education, and humanity, and us.

But in that crazy mix was also confusion.

Christy was right to get some distance… each of us needs more time than the stereotypical lesbian model for relationship building allows. But separate needn’t mean broken—not in the short term at least. It is a space of thoughtful questioning and growing. A space that can’t last forever but has its place.

So to our friends who love us and care, we understand. But you know us. We’ve got this. Don’t worry.


1 Comment

Filed under feminist, gay rights, gender, inclusion, institutions, lesbian, out late, LGBT, memoir, relationships

One response to “On Break-ups That Could Never Last…

  1. Well that sounds exciting to me 🙂 Enjoy!

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