I love my partner more deeply and more profoundly than I ever anticipated. In truth, though my love is flawed as are all works of human beings, I have pushed myself above and beyond my own preconceived boundaries in order to match the love and care, respect and kindness, patience and understanding that he has shown me.
Right now, I can see him struggling. A moment ago, I was standing in his Mother's kitchen, I could see his back, framed by the window above the sink, and I was struck with how simply I am in love with him. I love the way his back, in a goldenrod tank top, narrowed to his tiny waist. I love the soft hair that fades down the back of his head until disappearing in a smooth line on his neck. I love his elf-like ears and the set of his spine. And on top of all that I can see on his shoulders the weight of his previous relationship.
As David and I have made our way towards a sustaining and healthy relationship, we have had to deal with the realities of life. Life dictated that he and I moved in together a bit earlier than we had anticipated. Due to the termination of my employment with the Center for Media Justice, David and I made the decision that I should move to New York at the end of March instead of June. The difficulty with that is David's ex partner.
I have written about this individual before. I have talked about the ways his pain has impacted our relationship. I have written about my anger and frustration, my compassion, and the end of my patience. He is the single most divisive and hurtful aspect of our relationship, which is a bit unfortunate. He is a hurting individual that is using his personal pain to heap guilt onto my partner and hateful feelings on to me. And David, caught between loving me and the residual feelings of obligations that he has towards his ex, finds himself lodged between a recent past that was fulfilling and hurtful and a future that, as far as we can tell, promises much of what he has hoped his life would be.
I have some experience with carrying the burdens of the past around. The past is a heavy anchor that drags along the seabed no matter how strongly the winds of fortune are blowing your way. The world can be sending you gale force love and luck, and, yet, a past anchor, caught on the sea floor, will slow, though not halt, your progression forward.
Recently, we had reached an agreement with our roommate that he would move on with his life at the end of July. He would vacate our space, and we would truly move on to the next phase of our relationship. A couple of days ago, he attempted to declare that he wasn't going anywhere. We took appropriate first steps to assure him that he would be.
Of course the response was far from adult, matched previous behavior, and descended into an old pattern of vilification of me and guilt tripping of David.
Nothing about this situation has been simple. Little has been pleasant. And it has been my personal challenge not to lose sight of this man's humanity. I haven't always been successful, but I have never been malicious, I have never been inflexible, and I have never been unreasonable.
But the time has come for justice to happen. If David and I are to have a peaceful place in which to move forward, we need a peaceful place in which to do it.
I have done what I can do in the situation. I have swallowed what I can swallow, and I have tolerated what I can tolerate. Last week, I almost reached a point of relapse, which, for me, signaled I had reached my mental and spiritual capacity to continue in the current living situation.
And, ultimately, I know the true closure of this piece of David's life is David's to do.
But when you love someone, you want to lift anything you can lift, carry anything you can carry, and bear anything you can bear. David has articulated to me that he craves peace, that he wants peace, love, and joy. Yet, the singal greatest source (other than my occasional craziness) of his consternation comes from a source outside of us. And, because of the key player in the madness, it is all set to get uglier before it will get better.
In many ways, David and I are very similar. But, in some significant ways, we are different. When I am hurting or struggling or in pain, I reach out. I turn to my friends and my family. I post all my business on my blog. I talk about what's going on and what I am feeling. I am a true extrovert.
My love is not.
And for someone such as myself that has a constant craving to know everything that is going on...letting him have his space to center, process, and strategize is tough.
I want to fix this for him. I want to make this better. I want to make it smooth and seamless. But, God has granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I cannot change the reality of our living situation. I cannot change the behavior of his ex partner. I cannot betray what I know is right and just and allow myself to be treated inhumanely and with rabid animosity without addressing it. I cannot stop loving David. I cannot confront his ex for him. I cannot set boundaries between David and his ex. I cannot force his ex to respect the agreements he has made.
But I have the wisdom to know that none of this is permanent, that David loves me, that I love David and that karma is a bitch. For a long time I have backed down, walked away, or been walked over because I was either too young, too scared, or too lacking in self confidence to stand up for myself. Those days are gone. And though I can't stand up for David. I can stand beside him, lending him strength of love and spirit to do what it is that he decides is right for him, and for us, to do.