Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There and back again.

That's a pretty pretentious title for this post. It won't live up to it.

Amy and I broke up almost 6 months to the day after we started officially dating. A couple weeks ago. I truly did not expect it to happen. While we were dating, I remember wondering to myself if there were anything that could possibly drive us apart. I never for a moment believed that we were in some kind of pre-reality relationship euphoria and still don't. I always felt like we skipped over that part completely. Or, at least, I did. I felt that way because I never thought Amy was perfect. That sounds odd, but I can explain. At the beginning of our relationship I had to reassure myself that she was who I wanted to be with, that I wasn't making a wrong choice. And I wasn't. But it took me getting over my desire to have something crazy and exciting, something that makes your heart race. Most everyone desires that, especially the older they get (it should be the opposite, shouldn't it?). But I realized that each and every time I've felt those particular emotions toward a girl, it's been a disaster. And I realized that I had very likely, all along, been inducing those emotions in myself for other girls simply because they didn't give me what Amy gave me.

Which was what? Amy didn't play games with me. She wasn't coy. She didn't force me to chase her. She was up front and honest about her feelings for me. So I missed the thrill of the hunt. But that wears off. It always does. Once I realized that I was only feeling reluctance to be with Amy because I wasn't feeling that thrill (that thrill that had, so far, gotten me absolutely nowhere), I didn't care. I brushed it aside. I made the deliberate decision to be with someone who had all of the qualities missing in the girls from before, someone who simply appreciated me, who was grateful to spend any time at all with me, who didn't make demands of me, implicit or explicit, who instead simply trusted me to treat her wonderfully and deserve her and earn her devotion.

And so it was. Everything was great. It really was. Except, it wasn't perfect. Not that either of us expected it to be, but there were mistakes and warning signs, the gravity of which I am only just beginning to understand, and at this point I'm fairly certain our eventual breakup was unavoidable. Ironic, considering that while we were dating I couldn't think of any reason we'd ever break up. I was so sure...

And why wouldn't I be? She was an unbelievably awesome girlfriend. For all the reasons I've mentioned and probably a hundred more. The more time we spent together (which was a lot), the more drawn I was to her. The more I appreciated the small nuances in her personality. The more I enjoyed her. The more at home I felt with her. The more I loved her. She became my best friend. Bryan Cranston's character on Malcolm in the Middle (the dad) said something about love, about his wife, that's stuck with me since I heard it. He said that being in love with someone means that no experience is complete until you share it with them. Amy became that for me, and me for her (I'm fairly sure, anyway). It was great. I loved it. We got engaged and planned to be married in late September, about nine months after we'd started dating.

But our actions have consequences, good and bad, and you can't erase bad behavior with good intentions. I won't explain the details. While I have discussed some of them with people I trust, I'm not interested in making a permanent record of mistakes that can and, hopefully, will be put away and forgotten. It's not fair to myself, and it's certainly not fair to Amy. I love her too much.

That was part of the problem, in the end. I loved her too much to not be absolutely sure that we were ready to be married, and over a relatively short amount of time I became convinced that we were not ready. After some very intense soul-searching, prayer and counsel from loved ones, I came to the conclusion that the only possible way to save our relationship would be to end it. We couldn't keep dating anymore. Our time together was up. There were too many things to address, and we could only effectively address them in isolation from each other--apart, confronted with the real possibility of never getting back together. Is there a chance we get back together? Yes, absolutely. Is it likely? I don't know. People don't often change enough. I know I can change and I know I will. But I am only half of this equation. Meanwhile, we must seek opportunities to get to know other people, to learn and grow and improve our relationships with others and with God and do it all for ourselves, to make it part of who we are and not something we prop up on the struts of a comfortable romance.

For now, I will miss her. In fact, I think I'll always miss her. It's been said to me by well-meaning friends and family that if Amy and I don't get back together, we will both surely find others who will make us happy. While I appreciate the sentiment, it's always hard to even consider eventually replacing someone whom you loved for so many reasons, reasons which you know cannot and will not be duplicated in any other person. I was told by a close friend that, while it sounds extremely unromantic, love is common and love happens all the time. I think that's true, but the point he misses is that while "love" is hardly unique, the combination of two people that fall in love always is, and that makes aspects of every love unique and inimitable, and I already feel grief and loss at the prospect of losing all the wonderful uniqueness of my relationship with Amy and of her herself. I miss her adorable chipmunk cheeks, beautiful teeth, exquisite lips and big, pretty eyes. I miss the way she greeted me enthusiastically on the phone, the way she laughed at my jokes, her own sense of humor that cracked me up all the time, her kindness, her desire to reach out to others and make them feel like they were included, that she was thinking of them, that they were her friends. I miss how she would go out of her way to make me feel good, make me feel supported and cherished and appreciated. I miss the way she smells. I miss the way her hair feels against my cheek. I miss the way she slept on her stomach and how she would grunt softly and sweetly when I'd touch her or kiss her while she slept. I loved kissing her. I loved hearing her talk about her art and hurt for her when she expressed her artistic dreams that she was not yet able to follow. I loved the way her eyes lit up when she saw me. I always loved being around her. I've never adored anyone more. She was my favorite. I hope that this is not the end of us, but if it is, I trust that it is for the best and the only moments I will regret from our relationship are the ones that contributed to its end. I love you, Amy. I will always think about you and I will always love you.

I'll end this with one of my favorite photos of my pretty Amy, stolen shamelessly from her Facebook page.

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