So some of you are wondering what happened with Jake, and I’ve told a couple of you to your face and given the gist to most of you. But the whole story is a long one, especially taking my feelings and all the craziness in my brain into consideration. I thought about it long and hard, got two very different pieces of advice from my two most trusted confidantes and made a decision to end my relationship with him. Here’s why.
For those of you who need or like a visual aid, here are a couple:
For those of you who need or like a musical number to go with your stories, here is one:
So – what happened?
Jijad’s birthday party was a couple weekends ago and Jake was my date. We had a really great time – I even had the opportunity to introduce him to lots of friends, including one of my best, Melissa. We tore up the dance floor, took shots of Jameson, and had a couple of intimate moments while leaning against one of the walls of the bar. In one of said intimate moments, and I don’t remember how it came up, Jake pulled me aside and said something along the lines of, “I just want you to know that I think you’re really great and I’m not seeing anyone else. I’m not interested in seeing anyone else, either.”
To this I replied: “Me neither. I’m having such a great time with you and can’t wait to see where this goes.”
Jake smiled big and said, “Well, we should probably wait until we’re sober, but I’d love to have this discussion with you.”
I was elated. Cloud 9. If this had been “500 Days of Summer,” the next morning would have been the scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt dances in the streets of LA to Hall & Oates’, “You Make My Dreams.”
Fast forward to the weekend. That Saturday, I had to unexpectedly pick up a lunch shift at Bar Jules and my sister was in Miami. I didn’t want to leave my dog alone for that much time, so I asked Jake to dog-sit, which he said yes to without missing a beat. I was so grateful that in the evening I offered to take him out to dinner.
We went out to Domo (deliciousness aplenty) and sat on the patio with a bottle of wine. Towards the end of the meal I decided that there wouldn’t be a more romantic or appropriate time to discuss our relationship.
In my mind, what would have happened next was very clear, and maybe that is part of why I had such a hard time understanding what he said to me.
|IN MY MIND||IN REALITY|
|He grabs my hands in his, gives me a kiss on my mouth, and says he wants nothing more than to be my boyfriend.||He tells me that he likes me, wants to be exclusive, but is interested in polyamory politically and as an idea, and wonders what I think about that idea.|
Now, most of you know that I am not a prude. If you’ve read my Tops and Bottoms column, you know I have no shame and I will say things just to illicit a strong reaction. But this … my heart. My heart felt like it had been spin-kicked out of a window.
At first, I didn’t know how I felt about it. I was in shock. Jake proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes assuring me that he was happy with what we had, and that it was only an idea – an idea that he had never tried but just wanted to hear my thoughts on.
Finally, I collected my thoughts enough to say, “I came here knowing 100% how I felt about you. Now I don’t know.”
He nodded patiently but gulped big – that “oh fuck” gulp.
Overnight and the next day while at work, I thought about it. A lot. Maybe too much. But as I thought about it, and shared what had happened and began to vocalize what I was thinking and feeling, I began to figure it all out.
The idea of polyamory doesn’t bother me. I know that relationships get stale and that sometimes, adding another person into the mix can spice things up. I get that. And even if I never participate in anything like that, I would never frown on people who do. Especially Jake, since I know him pretty well now and I trust and respect him. What I don’t get is why now? Why me? A new relationship is supposed to be fresh and exciting, and I felt like he was creating space in his life for someone who he hadn’t yet met. And that scared me.
Nati, my sister, brought up a good point: “maybe he just wasn’t feeling it as much as you were.” And as painful as that may be to believe or accept, I can’t deny that that could be a possibility. He insists that that isn’t the case and was really remorseful about bringing it up at all, but I don’t want to start and remain in a relationship where I feel like maybe I’m not giving the person I’m dating everything that he could possibly want. And I told him this in a letter. You can read it here, if you’re so inclined:
I hope you are doing well. Thanks for the text this morning, and for being understanding of my need for a little space. I’ve been thinking a lot about what you told me the other night at dinner and am still clarifying my feelings on the issue. I spoke to a couple of friends and although I got mixed feedback when I told them what we discussed and what *I* was thinking, I think I have come to realize that I don’t want to see you any more.
This decision has not come easily as I like you very much, but I can’t help but feel like what you told me about your interest in polyamory would ever really leave my mind. So I am conflicted. The fact that you are interested in polyamory and decided to bring it up when we were having our first “relationship talk” doesn’t bother me in that I frown upon it necessarily, it just makes me wonder why? The first few months after you meet someone that you hit it off with, I suppose, are supposed to be that of euphoric newness. So why the need to discuss polyamory unless you really weren’t that into “us” in the first place?
Like I said, I like you, but as I told you at dinner the other night, I have come a long way in building up my self-esteem since a really toxic relationship. The conversation on Saturday directly works against all that I worked for. I don’t want to be with someone who feels like I’m only partially giving them what they need. I think you deserve and I want you to have whatever it is you need, Jake. I just don’t think that can happen with me.
I hope you understand, and I will never forget the great times I had with you.
And this is his response:
Dang! Well I’ll respect your decision, cause there’s no other choice, but I got to say that I’m disappointed. Not in you, just that I was really enjoying myself and our dating. I’d like to clarify some things and answer your questions. Though I’d be more comfortable speaking in person, I’m okay writing some stuff here and we can touch base if you’d like to talk more. In any case, I think you’re excellent, and hope that we can be friends.
Please know that my interest in polyamory isn’t a result of feeling unfulfilled in our interactions or budding romance. I’m open to the idea of relationships which aren’t monogamous, but I haven’t felt unfulfilled with what we’ve had going. I believe there can be a distinction, and that may be where our perspectives differ. I’m interested in the idea of polyamory for several varied reasons, but it’s too long to write about in an email and I haven’t wrapped my head around the idea completely. Overall though, I mentioned the poly model as an idea, not a requirement for relationships I have with other people.
I’ll never know what you went through with your last relationship, but it sounds like it was a struggle and that you’ve put a lot of personal work into healing and getting to a good place. If you ever end up in a place that you believe being with someone interested in polyamory wouldn’t be self destructive, then I’d love to give it another go. In any case, I’d have to agree with you that the time we spent together was fantastic, and very funny- you make me laugh super hard 🙂
I hope that this won’t be the last time we interact, I’d really like to try friendship. Just let me know.
So, it’s done. I’m actually really crushed over it. I think I hide it pretty well.
But I can’t help but feel like I’ve come a long way from the Julian I used to be. The old Julian would have probably gone along with it, because the old Julian was insecure and may have not felt like anything better would come along, or would not have cared about how his boyfriend seeing someone else affected his self-esteem. But that Julian is gone.
I know in the long run I’ll be happy with my decision. Getting through the holidays is going to suck, though. We had so many plans.