The first time I broke up with someone was in high school. Her name was Rachel, and in proper highschool style I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I hardly had a word for asexuality at that point, let alone words for asexual relationships, so we became pretty heavily emotionally involved using only the shabby language of friendship. Her boyfriend became obsessively jealous of our relationship, which eventually forced both relationships to fall apart. I got the full hollywood experience: crazy phone calls, sitting in my room listening to mopey music and deep emotional scars. When I ran into her years later I still got a chill.
Though my relationships have certainly gotten close since then, there haven't been any more breakups until about two hours ago. It's a conceit, but I like to think of this as a good thing. Since I've gotten my shit together a little more relationship-wise my relationships tend to evolve rather than end suddenly, they have the quiet emotions of ebb and flow rather than the drama of a big explosion. My meticulously balanced community kept everything relatively stable, and that made this breakup remarkably different from the last.
In this blog I've referred a few times to "Primaries," a core of close relationships at the center of my community. Treating someone as a primary is Kind of A Big Deal, and generally involves some acknowledgment that our relationship is getting serious. I created this box because I wanted a special way to think about the people who I mattered most in my life, because I wanted to begin to seriously commit to people and have them commit to me back. When I started using the word I applied it to three relationships, two of which fizzled within a month. The remaining relationships was joined by three others that have been relatively stable and growing for about two years.
Two years is a long time. It's time enough for relationships to grow intimate and it's time enough for people to change. Over the past six months one of these four people became increasingly busy with a combination of a demanding job, extensive volunteer work and a business that she is starting. Our time together remained as emotionally powerful as ever but became less and less frequent, until for weeks at a time I saw her only in events packed with other members of her community that she didn't have time for. We made up ways to spend time together but none of them worked. About two weeks ago I decided to seriously reconsider the relationship's role in my life. I spent the holidays slowly untying all of the emotions and expectations that I had entangled in the relationship, and earlier tonight we finally got a chance to talk about it.
Things still feel shitty, but I'm in a whole different world from last time this happened. I've still got three other core relationships and a strong community to depend on, so while there's certainly a whole in my life I don't feel like I'm alone in the world. I have no ill will towards her- she hasn't done anything wrong, just shifted priorities- and while I've got a lot of emotion flying around about the relationship I'm keenly aware that she is no longer a place where that emotion should be directed. We had a short, melancholy conversation where we acknowledged where we were and agreed to remain friends, and then we went our separate ways.
I can't help but walk away with the eerie feeling that this is all unhealthily mature.