Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm Not in Love With You Anymore

One hasn't quite lived (or died to illusion) until they've been on the receiving end of this sharp-ended, dagger-of-a-phrase sent hurtling across a room, launched from the mouth of someone with whom you (at one time, even though long ago) thought you would spend the rest of your life. It's deeply disturbing to discover that the very same mouth that so often comforted, tickled, promised, whispered, teased, and delighted reveals the unerring ease at which it can deliver venom as well. Regardless of whether the words strike the head or the heart first, or whether the relationship is rushed to intensive care and hooked to artificial means of "love-support," the wound will ultimately prove fatal because what that phrase really means is "I was never in love with you." And therein, my friends, lies the poison.

How does one fall out of Love? The answer is pretty simple. One doesn't. One falls, or more accurately stumbles -- bruising head, heart and soul -- out of an illusion of Love. At the risk of sounding like a wedding preacher: Love never fails. Love. Never. Fails. So, when a relationship purportedly based on "Love" fails, it's a fairly good indicator that what one was actually dealing with was one of Love's sneaky impostors -- infatuation, lust, physical desire, co-dependency.

I was treated to this (please God, let it be) once-in-a-lifetime lesson earlier tonight. I'd brought some things back to the Ex's that he'd left at my house after coming for Easter with a friend of ours. My intention was to drop the stuff off at the door and beat it. I was still smarting emotionally from Sunday's interaction, and we'd had one of our e-mail fencing matches earlier in the day. I was tired in every sense of the word.

A momentary lapse in judgment and I was goaded inside; suddenly I was on the wrong side of his apartment door. A veiled reference to the state of things between us and we were off. I don't remember what I said to compel him to say what came next, but I do remember his exact words. They were "I'm not in love with you anymore" and "I don't want to ever be in a relationship with you again." Uhm, ouch.

His delivery was too scripted not to be. I'd always had this upper hand with him; unlike me, he is incapable of any real subterfuge. I sensed that he'd been trying to say these words for a long time. So long, in fact, that the delivery at this time seemed cruel, unnecessarily so. We hadn't slept together for over a year and I could count the number of pleasant interactions during that time on one had.

I'm not sure why we were even interacting. I know I wasn't emotionally up to it, but I hung around. Did I think that we would get together again? Realistically, no, but something kept me hovering. I believe it had more to do with my New England-Irish-Catholic stubbornness and than with him. I hate losing, I hate not being right and I hate not being in control. With him I'd come up short on all three.

In my life, this in-spite-of determination has proved to be double-edged sword. While it's likely the reason I beat the odds early in life, it's also the reason I stay locked in losing scenarios, redoubling my energies.

What I discovered tonight is the awesome power of words. I now understand that words are capable of stopping a heart mid-beat, of stealing breath, of sending ice through veins and fire into the brain, of blinding sight.

I also discovered that they can be the very things that steel one's soul and provide clarity. All that was confused suddenly snapped into order when the full force of his words landed, and I was able to look at him evenly in the eyes and say "Goodbye," really meaning it for the first time.

The tears that followed were not about pain, but release.

As I turned to leave, he said, "Why do you torture yourself like this?" I kept walking, strength mounting in each step.

On the street I answered him . . . "I don't anymore."


The Bleeding Stone Heart said...

I believe you've identified the root of the most painful truth that can be spoken in a relationship.

This proclaimation is a thousand times worse, at least for me, than hearing "I'm seeing someone else," as the latter can be interpreted by a broken heart that at least love might have once existed.

"I'm not in love with you" is not only the sharpest of all arrows, it invariably is the one shot far too late, causing needless suffering like that of an animal when the hunter's aim is not swift and true.

he gay said...

Thanks for the comment "bleeding stone." It helps knowing the experience has universal aspects.