Closing chapters from over ten years ago…
Long story short, I dated my first girlfriend from age 15-17 after feelings developed the year before at age 14 (puts us in 9th grade FYI). I say “dated” very lightly because just 2-4 weeks after making things official, her mother caught wind of it and started putting up some pretty extensive barriers: transferring schools, blocking my number, confiscating technology, reading through said girlfriend’s phone, etc. We would communicate infrequently and inconsistently through apps and friends’ phones, seeing each other in person only at school/band events or by sneaking around her mom’s back. It was rough because all the while there was a multitude of mental health issues and even just figuring out identities as queer teenagers in the south of the US. It was a weird introduction to dating and being gay, just saying.
Anyway, this went on from about October 2012 to October 2014 (I think). That’s when we mutually ended things because it had just gotten to be too much. That same night, I reconnected with an old friend and dated her for 1.5-2 years too (we don’t like her too much, FYI).
Fast forward to mid-2016: my second relationship comes to an end and me and girlfriend #1 start texting “as friends”. As I’m sure ya’ll have guessed, we started hanging out more (night driving, swimming, sitting in the car and talking, lots and lots of texting because I was still unwelcome in her house). One night, while her parents were on a trip, she invited me over and we made a decision to try dating again. It only lasted maybe 36-48 hours. I remember having breakfast with my current best friend up in Atlanta and I can recall the excitement and the feeling of “it’s finally coming together” when I told her that we made this decision. Just hours after that, I started having doubts and reality did sink it. My plans of studying in Germany, joining AmeriCorps, finishing school, and moving out of my hometown hit me as more of a distant dream vs reality if I was going to choose this path right now.
Furthermore, there was the fact that we were very different people when we broke up and I don’t think we recognized each other any more. Part of me felt like it was a good thing and it would allow us to start over with a clean slate; however, the slate wasn’t clean. We were mixing past feelings of an unresolved relationship with current realities and new goals- it just wasn’t going to work without extreme effort and I guess it wasn’t worth it to put all other aspects of my life aside for something unknown like that. I also realized through my second relationship, that the acceptance of my partner’s family is important to me, and I knew that I would never get that with girlfriend #1. It just wasn’t worth it to try dating again. It was never going to work. Inside, 14-15 year old me was sad, but 18-19 year old me at the time was trying to be rational and not get into something complicated– again.
So, it’s been over 10 years since we started this “shebang”. It’s been a fucking doozy to say the least. We’ve maintained random and inconsistent contact, sometimes getting updates from social media or mutual friends. I’ve told every partner I’ve had about us because some form of contact would always happen. We also share an amazing friend group, and our gatherings have occurred more and more in the past 3ish years, so our interactions have been less forced, awkward, and weird.
Well, we got together as a group this past Sunday. Afterwards, we started texting again as we do every 6-12 months to catch up and she invited me to lunch to formally get up to speed on each other’s lives.
** My fiancé is quite informed of everything, so she’s been an incredible support. Girlfriend #1 also has a wonderful girlfriend of about 1 year, so she is also being very encouraging towards us. **
So, lunch with the ex. It sounds so much more dramatic than it was. We did kind of go down a rabbit hole, though, in regards to trying to piece together exactly what happened between us over the past 10 years (more so the first 2, and also 2016ish). Turns out that trauma has a way of taking parts of your memories, so we struggled to get an exact timeline of things.
So, that is the journey we are currently taking: after a pool party in a few weeks at our good mutual friend’s house, we are bringing forth all remnants of “us” and going through them together and then burning them- both physically and digitally. I want to close this chapter for good because every time we meet my brain goes to the unresolved. It’s distracting and it brings up a lot of anxiety because that time was nothing short of stressful and traumatic. Our solution to this sounds a little crazy, I know, and I can understand that, but unusual situations call for unusual and unique resolutions. This is what my ex said about it: “I feel like for a lot of people, sitting in a room with your ex, drinking and looking at old photos would be very weird, but for us it just seems like something that needed to be done way before now.” I agree with that 100%. Wish us luck.