Reason, Season, Lifetime
It's been about three months since Matt and I have separated. I remember when I shared the news of our split with my sister and one of my closest friends and my conversations with them soon became peppered with questions - "So, what will you do with the apartment? Did he find a new one yet? What will you do with the car? How far away are your new apartments from each other? Do you have any non-couple friends yet in Portland?" It was clear from the questions and our conversations that their vision for the aftermath of our breakup was to have no communication or contact with this person, my best friend, who I had come to know, love, and trust more than anyone else over the past six years. I understood where they were coming from with this vision of theirs - they cared about me, knew I was hurting, and wanted to help prevent me from hurting anymore down the road - but I have never quite been comfortable with shutting people out of my life in this way. I have been to more than one wedding of an ex and seem to do the whole "stay friends after a breakup" thing pretty well. However, I did recognize that this relationship was different, in duration and in depth and thus, would likely require a longer and deeper healing time, more than any other breakup or heartbreak I have experienced in my past.
So, I sat Matt down and let him know that once we were broken up, we would need a period of time where we did not speak to one another. I set up the rules to include no calls or texts and if we needed to communicate, email would be the only acceptable way, until the moment we both felt ready to talk again. There was even an emoticon that we would send to one another when that moment arrived. I also set up a calendar and system for car sharing that would enable us to drop-off and pick-up the car from a specific location every other week, without having to see one another or interact. The rules for the car were that the gas tank had to be filled and all personal items had to be removed from the car at drop-off time. I thought this was a good, solid plan and Matt was on board with moving forward if it was what made me most comfortable.
The plan lasted for a week, maybe less. We continued to text and instead of keeping to our drop-off locations, we would meet each other for a coffee or lunch when we switched out the cars. The interactions felt as natural as our relationship has always felt but was purely and truly friendship. There was no breakup sex happening and though we would discuss the ways in which we were grieving the relationship, we were essentially best friends who cared and supported each other. I also noticed something interesting - as a couple, it seemed we were not able to inspire one another in music and game development (for him) or building my business (for me). Yet, as friends, this has changed. I do believe it has a lot to do with each of us being more self-motivated in this moment, but we have become really great soundboards for one another as we each are taking on different projects that excite us. Even tonight, when I felt like I was too emotionally drained to write, he was the one who reminded me that I made a commitment to myself to write every day. That is what stopped me from rationalizing the idea to skip.
Though I know that I want to continue my friendship with Matt, I am not naive in thinking that this road is going to be an easy one. There already have been moments where we have had to take a step back and say, "This doesn't feel right. We can't continue to talk every day like this." There's also the reality that one day, whether it's next week or next year, that one or both of us will meet someone that we want in our lives more. I have no doubt that this moment will hurt, at least a little. But, today, I'm willing to take that potential risk to have this kind of friendship in my life. I am actually starting to feel like, perhaps, we were always meant to be just friends. I have this thought that in thirty years, we'll look back and say, "Remember that time when we were a couple" and those six years will feel like a snippet of our long history of friendship. Or maybe that won't be at all how it plays out.
As per usual, I wanted to close out with a little something - tonight, a poem - that reflects the process of trying to figure out how or why certain people come into your life. I also wanted to share a bit about the photograph for tonight's entry, which was taken on the first real trip Matt and I took together to California. This was on the Pacific Coast Highway and to me, it is a representation of us in the moment, looking back through the rear view mirror at our beautiful and honest relationship and using the foundation that we built there to face forward and nurture a new kind of relationship - a friendship based on trust, unconditional love, and support that I do believe is for a lifetime.
Reason, Season, Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you will guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a season, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind by friendship is clairvoyant.