Usually, at the end of a long relationship, when someone says, “It’s not you, it’s me,” they’re lying. Or at least mostly lying.
So I’ll try not to lie. It has been rough at times, but I think this really is about me…at least mostly about me.
We’ve had a wonderful time together these last 29 years.
We used to play together when we were little, you helped raised me, your family was amazingly caring and supportive.
Some of my best memories are over at your house. I went to camp with you, introduced you to my friends, and year after year we grew closer and closer. I could tell how much my family loved you, and I was so glad we spent so much time together. Your mothers taught me to make lefse in the kitchens, your fathers taught me songs around the campfire. You told me your favorite stories and had your arms around me during times of loss and hurt.
In high school, I couldn’t get enough of you! I talked about you all the time and bragged about you to everyone I met. We spent our weekends together, I wore your tshirts all the time, you took me to concerts, you even got me some jewelry to remind everyone I belonged to you – everything a teenage girl could dream of. I wrote your name in my notebooks and thought about spending the rest of my life with you! My social life revolved around you, and I ended up following you to college. That’s when things started to get rocky.
Because everyone changes in college, everyone asks big questions and reinvents themselves – we had a lot of learning to do together. I was growing up and wondering more about myself, and so were you. You wanted to know if I was really serious, you started to introduce me to more of your family and friends – not just the cool fun ones, but some of the more challenging crazy-uncle types. But we had such a history together, so many years of memories, that I wasn’t ready to give up on our love. So despite the changes we were both feeling, I was tried to find new sides of you to love and appreciate.
I took my love for you into graduate school, fascinated by all the minutiae and deep roots of your history, your native languages, your endless expressions. Suddenly I was surrounded by so many other people who understood the feelings I had and shared the same love that I did. It was definitely challenging for me to put our relationship under a microscope like that! We saw that we had some important differences, but no couple is perfect. We had committed to each other and now we had to find a way to learn and grow together.
But that’s when things got rockier. Once we started spending ALL of our time together, I was troubled by some of the other people in your life. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt like I knew a different side of you, and that I didn’t know you when you were around them.
I started to have other crushes – finding wisdom and insight and inspiration in other places. I started to go on a few dates, spend time with these others. It started out harmless enough, I thought that our relationship could be enriched by what I was experiencing, but you and I both know we were growing apart. I thought that my love for the world and its wisdom would make our love stronger!
I thought we could have an open relationship. I thought I could stay with you even as I visited the others, giving them my time and attention, making new friends, going deeper, studying their ways… I can’t help it – I have a polyamorous heart. I can’t help but fall in love with beauty and truth when I encounter it. I don’t want you to think that you’ve been replaced with another, it’s just that I can’t be monogamous any longer. My appetites are too big.
I wanted to make this work. Don’t you think I know it would be easier if I could stay? It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known – long enough to know that it’s the right thing. I’ll always be grateful for what we had, and my life is permanently shaped by our time together. But it’s not you, it’s me. I have to move on. I hope that maybe, in time, we can be friends.
I wish you nothing but the best – I’ll look on from afar as you find new loves and new people to share your life with. I hope you’ll do the same for me, but I understand if that’s too painful right now. I don’t expect you to forgive me or to understand, but I hope you know that I’m doing the best I can with this.
Goodbye, and take care.