I get all excited to return to blogging and then, just as I start to make headway on the posts I’ve been contemplating, life gets in the way.
But something has come up that I couldn’t ignore – that I HAVE to write about. This is a big one and before I can plug away at creating posts on other (less depressing) topics, I felt like this one needed to be dealt with first.
But I’ve been too busy lately to address it. And so the gap in my blogging has continued to grow.
For years, this blog has been called Our Flophouse – emphasis on OUR – but sadly your host is no longer part of a plural. It’s just MY blog now. Junkii and I have gone our separate ways.
So while the name will remain the same – it’s just too much effort to change the blog name and URL – Junkii is out of the picture from here on.
There’s an upside and a downside. I used to have to run any new posts by Junkii to get his thumbs-up before sharing them. I don’t have to do that anymore. But then again, I’m not in a loving and committed relationship anymore.
I guess it’s not really an even-steven situation, but there you have it.
I have already spoken to many people about the particulars of our split. Many, many, many people. If I haven’t told you in person, I’m sorry. I couldn’t get to everyone face to face. Kind of getting tired of telling the story, actually. But I still feel like this warrants a blog post. It’s a pivotal moment in my life and it needs to be recorded for posterity, even if it’s something that brings me pain.
Plus, a well-written blog post would mean that I can simply stop telling (and re-telling) the story. Now I can just share this link instead!
So here goes…
15 years. That was the extent of it. Almost to the day, actually. While I don’t remember the exact date of our first coffee together, it definitely happened at the end of November 2000.
Junkii left for Amsterdam on November 20, 2015.
Those are the bookends. What happened in between was 15 years of awesome.
From the get go, we loved each other. I always felt 100% certain that it is love. I still am certain. He was always the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. So the fact that it ended is as frustrating as it is heartbreaking.
I don’t consider ours a failed relationship. I want to be clear on that point. Rather, it was a successful relationship that ended. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the whole thing again.
This blog is chock-a-block with examples of how we spent those fifteen years – but I suppose what it comes down to is the question of how we got to the end.
As with any relationship, it’s complicated and it comes down to the thousands of choices we made while we were together. Relationships evolve. People change. By the end, we were not the same people we were when we started this thing. But our love was still there – it was strong and it was familiar.
But maybe familiar is not a good thing. One doesn’t give much thought to familiar. Familiar is easy to take for granted.
Over the course of the summer, Junkii met someone online from Amsterdam. It was just a random webcam meeting with a guy – we’ll call him D – but they had a connection. Emotions were involved.
After a few weeks of wrestling with these emotions and with what it meant to his relationship with me, Junkii talked to me about what was going on. He recognized that he still loved me but that this connection was something new and, like any new relationship, exciting.
That rush of energy you get at the start of a relationship is potent. I remember the honeymoon phase. It’s wonderful! It’s not a feeling that comes along every day. And it’s certainly not something you can sustain over a 15-year relationship. But a 15-year relationship offers its own kind of love. It’s not flashy and passionate, but it’s strong.
Junkii asked for my patience while he tried to make sense of what this new relationship might be – and that process included him taking a trip to Amsterdam to meet D in person.
It was surreal when we talked about it. I felt like I was losing the love of my life. For the weeks following that conversation, my mind was distracted with my relationship – which was weird, given I had NEVER had to work at our relationship before. It was always just right and mostly perfect.
It felt like Junkii was throwing that away and that I had no say in the matter. I felt helpless; in limbo. Junkii couldn’t even answer basic questions about what this meant for us as a couple because he didn’t know.
But as we counted down towards his departure date, we talked and argued and talked some more. And gradually the dust began to settle as we both came to terms with our own feelings. And by the time he returned from his visit to Amsterdam, I had made up my mind: even if he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with D, our own relationship had been forever changed.
Our time as a couple was coming to an end.
The connection between Junkii and D was as strong in person as it had been online. In the end, Junkii decided to restart his life in Amsterdam. Over the following month and a half we worked furiously on preparing separation agreements, renegotiating house mortgages, transferring titles, updating beneficiaries, settling debts and dividing assets. It was a very task-oriented time. That kept me distracted from my emotions.
When I did have time to think about it, I grappled with my feelings – but in the end I have landed on “It’s a good thing that he’s gone.” It’s not easy that he’s so far away – I miss him – but by the same token his absence will ultimately make it easier for me to move on.
That’s going to take some time.
I’m certainly not seeking a new relationship right now. It’s hard to foresee a time when I will be ready for that. Logic tells me that this too shall pass, so I’m not worried. I’m spending my time getting used to being single…well, when I’m not out being entertained by my fabulous friends and family!
I do still love Junkii enough that attempting a new relationship would be unfair to any potential partner. But I know we cannot rekindle. The best we can hope for is to be friends.
That attitude surprises a lot of people.
In telling people about this split, I’m always careful to underline that the separation has been amicable. A common response has been, “you’re a bigger person than I would be.”
As the “wronged party” I do understand that point of view, but I think it comes from a place of anger and hatred. And I haven’t felt those things…not so far, anyway. I look back on our time together and I know he wasn’t TRYING to hurt me (even though he’s well aware that he HAS). Maybe I’m too logical and not in touch enough with my emotions. Maybe, because Junkii was forthright as this situation developed, I simply don’t feel “cheated on” and so I’m more able to forgive.
Whatever the reason, I feel like I have been able to let the anger go.
I can’t say there will be no more tears, but I think forgiveness is the right path forward for me. This is my first breakup from a relationship of any significant length, so what do I know?! But I just can’t see any benefit in carrying that darkness around. It just holds me back.
Junkii is my best friend and I want to keep him in my life. Since he’s been gone, we’ve talked via FaceTime. We text regularly. This is our new normal, and it’s an adjustment. It’s different than it was. It’s new.
But it’s also familiar, and that’s enough for now.