These past few days, I've been thinking long and hard about lessons I've learned. Some things (a lot of things) were specific to my previous relationship with Raga, and don't mean much for other people or for future relationships for either of us. Others are more general, and I'm determined to keep them in mind for future relationships.
I considered writing them down in "lessons we've learned" but concluded that maybe they were too personal and that I should write them here instead. As usual, I encourage everyone to comment and be very critical. I'm not one to think people shouldn't be critical of me just because it's my blog.
- Be open right away.
When I broke up with Raga, a lot of people heard about Seamus at the same time, or had only known about him for very little time. Had they heard about us opening our relationship almost three years ago, or about Seamus when I first met him in May, they wouldn't be so quick to blame either for the end of the relationship.
Similarly, had they heard about J for the year Raga was pursuing her, they wouldn't be so quick to call me unfair, think I wanted the relationship to be opened only one way, or think Raga started pursuing someone only after I had met someone myself because he felt lonely or something (since he liked her for months before I even met Seamus).
I'm a very honest person, sometimes brutally so. It's very hard for me to keep secrets, and I hate doing it. I'm very glad I had told people on my side (the few people in France I'm still in contact with) about things, but I realise now it was even more important that people on his side (his family, his friends, friends of both of us) knew. From now on, I'll refuse any hiding, and won't have partners who want their relationship with me or my relationship with Seamus to be a secret from anyone.
I know a lot of people here are still in the closet, partially or completely. I'm not saying you're wrong, it might be what works for me. But I hated having to hide because he wasn't ready to be out, and it all ended up hitting the fan and falling on me in the end, so in the future I need to be more true to myself.
I need to be less idealistic and expect people to react in ways I wouldn't have expected. It sounds very silly in retrospect, but I fully expected everyone to see our breakup as something sad that happened to the two of us, the loss of a relationship, and react in a similar way they would have for another loss (such as the less of a child, a pet, a friend, a job...) and comfort and support both of us.
Instead, most people wanted someone to blame. It was my fault, or Seamus's fault, or Raga's fault. Why does it have to be anyone's fault? Why can't it just be that the relationship had run its course?
Yes, it was me who said "this relationship is dead, let's stop faking it", but that doesn't mean I made it dead. I was devastated too that it wasn't working out anymore. I wished things would get better. I even tried to lie to myself and temporarily fix it. I first simply suggested to go to France because I was feeling so trapped and wanted a change of air. I could even get a job and an income, since that was one of the things I had trouble with, feeling like a burden.
I had commented that it would help us to take some time apart for the past year, year and a half. But Raga always answered in vague terms, or in a "someday" or in a "if things were different" way. I was tired of it.
So I went and said "I'm going back to France for a bit". I thought if I started strong, we'd be able to talk about things. We'd be able to decide and get the time apart we needed, and go back to the relationship in a healthy way.
But then, Raga broke down. I told him I wanted to talk about it, decide together, see what we could do. He refused to talk and left that night to go live with his parents.
In a lot of ways, I feel he's the one who abandoned the relationship there and then. When that happened, I thought, I don't need that drama. I don't want a relationship where we can't talk. I don't want a relationship where every decision I try to make for myself results in emotional blackmail, in him crying and me feeling like a terrible person to have tried to be true to myself or think about myself or made my own decisions.
For the next couple of days, every time he logged online I would talk to him and try to talk about us. But the second we started to talk about us, he would say something and then just go, like he had done in person. For instance, he started talking about a marriage counselor, I was like "er, okay...?", then said he'd make an appointment and just left.
I felt like I wasn't even included in the decision. I wanted to talk about things first! Why did his mind immediately go to a marriage counselor when he wasn't even willing to have a discussion with his wife?
I got tired of it. I ended up sending him an email saying that I wanted to break things completely instead of a separation. I didn't think at that point that a separation would help us anymore. I felt he would just be waiting for the time we'd be back together again, and not do any work on himself, and that I would just end up moving on and, when meeting again, not want to start the relationship again.
For both of us, breaking it off made more sense. For him, a separation didn't look like it would do any good if it wasn't a real separation, with no end date at sight, and for me it seemed like at this point it would be hypocritical, because the more I tried to talk about things, the more he just said he had to go. And we had already been dealing with problems for a while, I seemed clear to me suddenly. And thinking back, then too he would go away and talk to friends online instead of talking to me when I wanted to talk about our problems.
To be continued