I celebrated an anniversary this week— the one-year anniversary of the day I broke up with a guy. We had casually dated for about five months, and it was honestly a great relationship. We made each other laugh, we have a lot of common interests, and the chemistry positively crackled. Unusually, in the dating world, I had particular respect for who he is, apart from our relationship, and he admired me, too.
So why the break up? A fair question. At the time, he was wrapping up a divorce. He knows I’m looking for a serious relationship, with the possibility of marriage and kids. He had kids, doesn’t want more, and wasn’t looking for something serious. After five months, I knew I would start to resent him, or fall in love with him, or both. And I didn’t want that for myself. I don’t have the kind of connection with many people that I have with him, and if any of it was going to be preserved, I had to take my heart off the table.
So I gave him some choices. I let him know I’d reached a threshold, and although I wanted a relationship with him, I didn’t see evidence that it was happening. I let him know I thought we should stop dating, but that I was open to being friends, or to leaving the door open later on for something more, if I was free when our interests were better aligned.
And surprisingly, we transitioned pretty immediately into friendship. It’s a friendship that can be a little complicated by the chemistry, but I’ve dated other people and he’s dated other people, and we’ve remained friends. We see each other occasionally, support each other in surprisingly challenging moments, but mostly joke with each other by text a few times a week.
Today, he mentioned that he went to see “The Fault In Our Stars,” and when I expressed surprise that he’d see it, he admitted that he was on a date. I asked him how it went, and he said it went great. I’m happy for him. I’m a little bugged, because we had plans for this month (actually for this weekend) that he postponed awhile ago to next month because he was too busy, plus… it stings. I know it stung him when he found out I was dating someone special a few months ago.
It’s funny— I’ve thought a lot about this, and recently. I think I made the right decision a year ago. Even though I think my friendship with him is special, I think the right thing is for me to find someone else, and as long as he doesn’t want what I want, then I think he should find someone else, too. In fact, I went to a couple of singles events last weekend, and I agreed to allow a friend to set me up on a coffee date. But it’s never comfortable.