Credit: Author

My partner and I have recently gotten to the point in our relationship where we can have honest conversations about lovers past. And through these conversations, we discovered that we each have that one person in our lives that taught us the lesson that it’s nearly impossible to stop loving someone entirely. These people left us with a million “what ifs.” So I told them about you, how I loved you, and how I never got a chance to tell you.

I fell in love with you quickly (in a few weeks’ time to be exact), as I often do. You were the first person that was kind and good for my growth, and I fell head over heels. I really believed you were good for me, and I regretted the days after we departed from our overseas trip when we wouldn’t be up all night talking about our complicated relationship with our parents, and helping one another move towards progress with tarot, meditation, and massage. Since our time together, I found my life partner (whom I adore) who encouraged growth and compassion in the way that you did, and so much more. But I’d be lying if I said that your scrunched up nose, boisterous laugh, and long flowing hair never keeps me up at night.

When you asked me if I was bi, you were the first person I was honest with because I felt that you were the first person who mattered enough to tell. I thought that somehow by confirming my attraction to women that you would leave your boyfriend and be my lover. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. Falling in love with someone to the point that they leave their current partner for you is a lot to ask of a person. You didn’t leave him, not at that point, but I’ll never be entirely sure if you actually didn’t love me back. Not that you knew of my feelings, but I’m sure I said it in so many words. In the way I touched you, looked at you, and confided in you.

And you confided in me, too. We would talk for hours on end about our flawed relationships with our families and ourselves, lovingly nursing each other’s old wounds as you told me exactly what I needed to hear in a way that no one else ever had. You always knew exactly what to say. Even after the trip, we would come together after months apart just to have our talks. You told me that it felt as if I was your soulmate, and how clean of worry and doubt you always are after we part ways. And honestly, you erased my pain, too. You helped me to see things in a whole new way, a much-needed turning point for my anxious and suicidal brain.

But I created my own pain by falling in love with you, by listening to your intoxicated rants about how much you loved me, by watching you twirl around our room in your white lace underwear. We loved each other, but we couldn’t quite bridge the gap into talking about it while sober. You had a boyfriend at home, I was just coming out of an abusive relationship; it was just too complicated. But that didn’t make sleeping next to you every night anymore than a test of will power, a period of painful contemplation. Sometimes I’d reach out to you anyway, wrapping my arms around you from behind and nuzzling (and trying not to kiss) your neck. You’d often reciprocate, holding me closer as we’d whisper about nothing for another hour or so.

I’m in the greatest relationship of my life right now, one that I know I want to be in forever, but still my heart aches at the thought of you. That’s why I don’t text back, why I never set a date even when I agree with you that we should make plans. Because I’m still trying to move on from this pain I have from loving you and not being with you.

My partner tells me that sometimes meeting up with exes after the fact can give you a lot of closure in the sense that it can free you from the remainder of your infatuation. In their last serious relationship, they met up with their ex for coffee, the one that left them with a million “what ifs.” Before me, this was the person my partner loved the most, the person they had been subconsciously longing for after their long distance-related breakup happened. But after the two hung out, my partner felt better and knew that they no longer wanted to be with her. They were finally set free in a sense.

You texted me the other day to make plans after almost a year of us being apart. I still haven’t responded because I’m scared. I’m afraid of getting my heart broken, of being teased with your presence just for you to disappear out of my life for another long stretch of time. But no matter how much I love you, I have my loving partner to pick me up and to spend the rest of my life with. As soon as I muster up a little more courage, I’ll text you back with a date I’m free as you requested. And, like always, we’ll be one another’s emotional gurus again and liberate each other from the day’s pain. Though we can’t be together, our love and matched energies will make us perfect confidantes to each other once more. Maybe instead of having my heart broken this summer, I’ll get back the greatest friend I’ve ever had.