This is one of those detailed, emotional "breaking-up" posts... so I've hidden it behind a cut to save those of you who aren't into bitching. :)
First some background. A little over 5 years ago, I met this really sweet guy (name withheld to protect the guilty) on the internet. We chatted about Paganism and I gave him a link to my website. We later met and there was definitely a connection, and so soon afterward we started dating. Chas was brought into it a bit later and a little after that the new guy's husband was brought in as well. It was a great summer... full of passion and connection. Unfortunately the factory that they both worked at was already in the process of closing down and they had already made plans to move to Minneapolis to go to school. So we ended our relationship as they moved away... but we kept in touch.
Over the years this guy would tell me how much he wanted to move back to California... how his heart was here... and how he missed that time spent with Chas and I. This eventually gave way to him telling me that his relationship was unfulfilling, and how he suspected his partner of cheating, but they (in true WASP fashion) would never actually talk about it. Eventually he and his husband would meet someone else and open their relationship into a triad. I was a bit jealous when I heard, but was glad that he seemed happy.
But it was definitely short-lived. I later heard that he and his husband were planning to move back to CA but that they had opted not to tell their third because they were afraid that he would try to talk them out of it! I was put off by it, and told him so, but then plans dissolved and they all seemed to be happy once more so I forgot about it.
Not long after I was hearing again how unhappy he was... how he couldn't get motivated to finish school... how he wasn't happy in his relationships, and again how he longed to return to California. Chas and I offered him our place so that he might find it easier to return since it seemed apparent to us that the reason that he was so unhappy was that he was trapped in an unhealthy, uncommunicative relationship. After awhile, though I figured it wasn't going to happen any time soon, and that he needed to find his own process. I would continue to get reports from him and eventually heard that his husband had moved out of state to pursue his career, leaving him and the third in Minneapolis. Again I started hearing that he wanted to move to CA, and a few months ago he asked if the offer was still open to come and stay with us. Of course it was; I have held a torch for him for the past several years and welcomed a chance to help him out, especially if it meant that I could see him again. In August he arrived with the idea that he was going to figure out his life, get a job, and find a place to live. The official story was that he was going to find an apartment and then his husband would move out to CA to be with him, but I soon started hearing how their relationship was basically over and that he needed to figure out what he wanted to do. He had until the end of the year to figure it out, during which time he would look for a job in his field (tech writing) but said that he would take anything in the meantime.
He soon started telling us that he wanted to move in here permanently, and that he still loved us and wanted to build a life with us. He told us that he was in the grieving process for his other relationships and that they were over, but that he just needed to find a way to talk to them about it. We knew that this needed to happen before we progressed with anything with him and so were in a space to give him as much time as he needed.
Later he and I would go to a party and met this really nice guy named Steve. He and Steve clicked and over the next couple of weeks they started having a phone relationship. I asked him if he wanted to date this new person, and he told me no, that he just wanted more friends in the area. Later I found this was not true. I asked him what he wanted. He said that he just got out of a relationship and so he needed to be free to do what he wanted to. We understood. Then he told us that he really wanted to be in a relationship with us, and had for the past five years, but needed time to work everything out. Perfectly understandable. After a long talk in which boundaries were discussed it was agreed that we could pursue a triad between us AND he could date outside it IF the three of us were happy and fulfilled first. It was a big talk in which we all shared our feelings. At the end he told me that he wasn't used to talking about his feelings like that and it felt really good. I was happy.
The next day was his day off, so he wanted to go out and see this guy. Chas and I agreed and then said that because it was so new it would be nice if he would join us for dinner that night and we could talk about his day then do something special for the three of us. He agreed and we went on with our day.
Dinner came and went. He never showed. Like a fool, I thought "Oh, he must be having trouble on BART". An hour and a half after he was to be home he called --still at this guys house-- saying they "lost track of time". We were upset but things happen, right? Two more hours go by and he shows up. Now telling us that he actually realized what time it was a half hour BEFORE he had said he'd join us, but decided not to call because he "didn't want to get into it" in front of his date. Ouch! Wrong answer.
Now keep in mind that had he simply called and said that he lost track of time or needed more time or whatever, then we could have rescheduled our date, but instead we were left hanging. Again I asked him what he wanted and he said that he wanted to build a life with us... that he was committed to the triad and understood that he had "fucked up". We talked... we shared... we came to an understanding; he was not going to date outside the triad for awhile while he got his life together and worked out his other relationships and his job situation and his unfinished school. We said we could re-visit the open triad idea later, but that for now we needed to focus on the here-and-now. He said that he agreed and that it was actually for the best for him; that when he got overwhelmed that he had a tendency to jump into something new without regard to what was going on around him.
Things seemed great since then, although he had a strange habit of disappearing into his room for lengthy phone calls. I didn't think much of it. He and I went out the Sunday before Halloween to meet artist Paul Rucker at Ancient Ways in Oakland. While Paul and I chatted, he got a tarot reading. Afterward we all went to Walnut Creek for dinner and had a nice time. At some point in this period he made tentative plans with Chas for themed Christmas decorations for the house.
Tuesday was Halloween and we had my mom and best friend over. We all had a nice time dining on hor d'ouvres and cocktails. Wednesday my mom was still there and we watched a Japanese animated movie ("Spirited Away") that he had got from NetFlix. Good times.
Thursday night the three of us sat down to watch the next installment in our Buffy saga. It was the one where Buffy and Riley break-up. After it was over he said, "It's ironic that this episode was tonight." I was honestly thinking he was going to tell us that he had finally found a way to tell his guys that he was moving on but instead he said "I'm thinking I should move back to Minneapolis" contingent on him getting his old job back since he had no money and no place to live and since his old boyfriend had moved into a smaller apartment that didn't take dogs. The decision, he said, was made a week ago, and solidified by the tarot reading the previous Sunday. He had been making plans with his (almost?)ex and was going to start setting things in motion. I was shocked. Although I should have, I never saw it coming. The reason that he gave (at first) was the job market, saying that while the job market was improving he was competing with people who had lost their IT jobs in 2001 and so it was going to be impossible for him to get a job until he finished his schoolwork, which is very little, but he seemed to not be motivated to actually do it while he's been here, contrary to the whole reason for him coming. A strange reason, but I sadly accepted it. He said that he had thought things were over with his "husband" but that he had heard second hand that his husband was waiting for him to figure out what he was doing in order to get on with his life. So my previously nice guy decided to give it another shot with him. I understood and told his so. Then he said that things had never been the same between the three of us since the Steve thing, and that he felt that we had put unnecessary restrictions on him as he wanted to be in a relationship with us but that he didn't want to have to answer to anyone about sex (or love) outside the relationship. He said that Chas and I could have picked any other night to have our special dinner with him, but that we chose that night and it made him feel restricted. I reminded him that he was an adult and he didn't need to agree to the dinner if he didn't want to. Instead he agreed to our faces and felt restricted in secret. Then he tried to blame us for it.
So... Friday morning I talked to him again. I told him that his moving out was NOT contingent on him getting his old job back but in fact was going to happen no matter what. I knew he had no money, no job, and no place to go, so I told him he could stay until the end of the year (the original agreement) but that I felt strung along and lied to and so our relationship was definitely over. I told him that I was not anybody's "back-up plan". He said he felt bad because his other guys felt the same way and that now he had effectively made all the men he loved feel bad. I sat in silence.
He started packing almost immediately, and then told me that he was going to be staying at a friend's house in San Jose for the weekend and then leave for Minneapolis on Monday (today). I was sad, but knew that it was for the best. I asked him where he would be staying and he said he didn't know, but that he would find friends to couch surf for awhile. On Saturday I was to go to San Francisco with a friend from out of state and so I left thinking that I would see him on Monday when he made his final trek out to the mid-west. A couple hours later I received a text message from Chas telling me that he packed up his car and his dog and left. He wouldn't be back. I was surprised because he told me that he was leaving on Monday, but apparently he was leaving from San Jose instead. So I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye, hence this post, since I really need some closure.
I guess the good thing is that I can lay down my five-year torch for him finally. It sucks though because in handling things this way he lost a really good friend. I mean, how can you be friends with someone who lied to you like that? I certainly can't.
So... I'm sad. I loved him. I still do. I'll miss him. But I guess it's not really him that I'll miss, but the beautiful illusion that he projected. Now even that summer five years ago will be tainted in my mind. Hopefully after some time has passed I'll be able to separate them and cherish those memories again, but for now they are just another example of the selfish deception that he wove.