TheBassist and I met in December of 2004 in a community for tall people on LiveJournal. The conversation kicked off about shoes. We were so charmed by the other, we were instant LJ BFFs. Within a week or so, we couldn’t stop mooning over the other. Within a couple of months, he flew out to Grand Rapids and all of that passion online smoothly translated off. I remember sitting on my couch, he fresh from his flight, just holding the other. My face was buried in his chest and I muffled something along the lines of, “I’m dead.” He titled my face towards his and asked me to clarify. I said that if he kissed me, it would be all over. He kissed me and we barely left my apartment the entire weekend.
Several weeks after that, he dumped me.
Some months down the line, a mutual friend got in touch and said TheBassist wanted to get in touch with me again. I acquiesced. We started discussing about getting back together and within a week, he dumped me again.
Nine years go by and the fourth of July 2014, he sends me a Facebook message. He had found the signed to me copy of Terry Pratchett’s Thud! and did I want it? TheBassist had haunted me for years and in the 2013, I found he had been leaving me love notes across the Internet for years. So yes, I was a bit leery about friending him again, signed TPerry or not. But I did not hate or begrudge him and I was curious to find out what had happened, so I offered him a compromise: how about we become Facebook friends and if I felt comfortable with him, he could send me on the book. He agreed. So we did.
So what happened in 2004 was this: TheBassist and his now ex-wife were in the process of their own divorce when we met. They were both dating other people, I was not an affair, everything was above board, it was simply a matter of paperwork. I was in my final year of college and the plans then were if things continued as they were between us, I’d apply for grad schools on the east coast to be closer. He would finalize his divorce. We’d date and then who knew what the future held.
We were pretty sure that the future was looking glorious because we ticked each others boxes like crazy. There was not a thing we did not have in common, believed in, or loved. We could talk for hours, and we did. We laugh darkly now about the cost of our cell phone bills because this was in the days when minutes were counted and texting was not cheap. He was the first person I spoke to every morning and pretty damn near the last person I spoke to every night.
He was the first man to make me cum. He was the first man who knew instinctively what I needed sexually and knows my body better than anyone ever has.
I loved him like gangbusters. He was my everything. Where in the past, partners always tried to get me to reign in or modify my behavior, he encouraged everything about me. He loved me, for me and I reveled in that love. Because I reveled in that love, I loved him just as fierce.
The now ex-wife decided she wanted him back. They had a history. A family. Though she had dumped him and had made no moves in the year plus separation to win him back, now that he was with me, she wanted him back. So he took the known over the unknown and smashed my heart into a million pieces in the process.
I knew this was going to happen — I had warned him this was going to happen. He was so delightedly and blessedly in love with me that she’s going to want in on a piece of that action. It was not that he did not believe me more that he did not think this was going to happen. But it did. This is why I could not fault him for his actions because he is only human, much to his chagrin, and he had done what he thought was for the best.
Stupid decision, it is all around agreed.
He was obviously wrong. Within a few months of them getting back together, they broke up yet again. He came back to me to suss me out but knew that by staying with me the second time, he would only be manipulating me for his own end and not trying to really build a relationship. So he left. Again.
There is more to his story than what I am telling, but that part is for him to share. What I can share is that in the intervening years, I was one of his two biggest regrets.
I am apparently legion on the east coast. There is not a friend of his nor a family member who had not heard of the Michigan Girl in the last decade ad nauseam. I was the bar that was set so high, no other girl could possibly obtain even modicum of my status. I am the love of his life and he would do anything short of murder to keep me and make this work.
A week after TheSoonToBeExHusband and I split, I made an impulsive decision. “What are you doing the following weekend?” I asked TheBassist. “I’ve got a gig, but nothing else, why?” “How about I come visit?” “You don’t need to ask twice!”
So I didn’t.
A three month love affair in your youth that gets romanticized as you get older does not a relationship make. I knew this. But I needed to be with someone who wanted to be with me in all the ways and not some sort of idealized image of me. TheBassist and I were talking every day, all day, by this point. Despite the grey hairs and aging, what drew us together ten years ago was very much still there.
I needed to take a risk.
As we sat on his bed my last day in town, I booked a flight in two weeks hence, and then cried at the airport and most of the flight back. There had to be some kind of goal to obtain and I had to make some clear decisions on what I wanted to do. So the plan became this:
I could not stay in Michigan, there was nothing left for me there. I have a ton of friends up and down the east coast, I could coach surf if necessary. There were job opportunities galore. There were people desperate to be a part of my world. TheBassist wanted not only to make me in his world, but to create a world of our own. There is nothing he would not deny me and nothing he would not do to make me happy. Even though our time together has been brief the first time, there is something deeper, that could not be explained or reasoned away, that binds us together.
TheBassist’s word is his bond and he favors loyalty over anything else. He has a legion of fans up and down the eastern seaboard where the subtext of meeting the legion has been, “Do not hurt him.” I am conscious that my actions right now are suspicious and eyebrow raising – if I sound so sure of everything that has transpired, why am I holed up alone in the middle of nowhere when I ache so much for one?
The best reasoning I can give is this: I went from a world where I was in a marriage that left me not only alone, but incredibly lonely. Now I’m in a world where I do not want for loneliness and I am overwhelmed by the love and support that is being given to not only by TheBassist, but also by his friends and his family. I am panicking because I have never been in position where people have my back simply because they cared. I always had my own back, even in my marriage, I could not depend on the one person I was supposed to depend on outside of myself: my husband.
This past Friday I called TheSoonToBeExHusband and told him I wanted to come home. I wanted to right the wrongs of our marriage. When I told TheBassist I was leaving, he broke down and cried. I am tawdry harlot breaking men’s hearts everywhere I go. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I waffled as fast and furious. The last week has been emotional hell. I was all over the place and every decision felt like a lie. I told both I needed to be alone, with neither of them in my head or space, and I needed to make sure I was doing the right thing. For me.
This is how I ended up alone in a hotel in the middle of nowhere on a rainy November day, chain smoking, and baring free my soul to the internet.
It is now hours upon hours later after I started writing this. The hope was to give both sides of their stories, where I fit in, and as the days progressed this week, to suss out what I needed to do. What was right for me. But as I wrote this, all the fuzziness in my head this past week about if I was making the right decision cleared because two things I had always known with certainty: I wanted to live alone and I wanted to continue what I started with TheBassist. Our relationship first round was born out of chaos. This time was also born out of chaos. I needed to create the space of my own and see if we could really work as a couple outside of the chaos.
I need to be here.
TheSoonToBeExHusband read my post from earlier today and wrote me a long email in kind. In it he says,
Part of me doesn’t want to pressure you; but part of me wants to fight for you, and part of me wants to track you down; put on a trench coat and hold a boombox over my head blasting Peter Gabriel.
I knew that waiting until my week was up to talk to TheSoonToBeExHusband was futile. Putting down the dissolution of my marriage, something I had done in fits and starts everywhere but never in a single location solidified the hard decisions I had made long ago when I put this plan in motion.
So I called TheSoonToBeExHusband and we talked.
For five hours.
We talked about TheBassist, what he meant to me, what he gives me, and how he makes me feel. We talked about how our marriage broke down, how his depression corroded what was good, and how I had been hanging on by a thread for months.
Both men had told me independently, and without me asking, they would wait for me if I went to the other. TheBassist said he would wait 369 days (in case I got lost coming back through Pennsylvania).
TheSoonToBeExHusband and I discussed about not getting a divorce but simply a separation while I stayed here on the east coast. I suggested to both they could time share me. Surprisingly, neither were terrible keen on the idea. TheSoonToBeExHusband and I went through every how much we very much loved the other, but our relationship had not been working for years. I was alone through most of the marriage and TheBassist offered me a life TheSoonToBeExHusband could not provide for me: TheBassist gives me all of himself. Not halves. Not bits, but wholes. I need to be with someone who wants to love the world as much as I do.
I need to be here. No more waffling.
I did not leave TheSoonToBeExHusband for TheBassist, but he told me if he had known TheBassist was waiting for me weeks ago, that I had this awesome and supportive environment protecting me as I went through this, his heart would have been a lot lighter and he could have started his closure sooner. That is my folly, one that I plainly take on.
I had hoped TheSoonToBeExHusband would not have found out TheBassist this soon because how it looks and how it is are two vastly different things. I did not want to hurt him. I do not want to be unnecessarily cruel. I did not want to give him more pain because the dissolution of our marriage had nothing to do with another man waiting in the wings. But now that he knows and everything is out in the open, this has all become decidedly French. TheSoonToBeExHusband quipped at one point in the conversation,
TheBassist sounds like a great guy – I’d date him.
(Over the course of the last few weeks, both have been quipping things that are insanely identical. It’s like they are in cahoots with the other. Did I mention they are both 6’7 and weigh exactly the same with similar builds? TheSoonToBeExHusband referred to me as his waffle; TheBassist has started calling me Belgian. It is downright eerie.)
Now the plan is this: I filed for divorce last week. TheSoonToBeExHusband will be responding to the complaint this week. We should be finalized in a few months. We had already agreed on the split of everything so it’s all very amicable. Once Throbbing Manor sells or I get a job, I get my own place. TheBassist can bring in his toothbrush. He may get a shelf. We’ll date and see how it goes. TheSoonToBeExHusband is moving to Louisville for now. He’s going to continue seeing a therapist, continue taking his meds. He and I will have phone dates every couple of weeks because he was my best friend for six years and he is part of my world, I am selfish enough to want to keep him in it. He’s making plans to do fun things like take a fjord cruise or go on a big vacation. He told me he saw a sunbeam coming through a glass and shine on an ugly clock and noted that the clock was indeed ugly. He’s beginning to feel things again and he is noting he wants to be a part of the world once more. He’s not feeling dismissive and out of place as he once did. For that I am thrilled and excited. And so supremely glad.
The story of TheSoonToBeExHusband and I is not yet over, but it is on pause. He’s got a lot of work to do on himself, he could not be with me now even if we wanted to make it work. The fear of sliding back to what it was is too great and his emotional recovery from his depression is too soon. But I told him if he ever found himself slipping into that dark world again, to call me and I’ll come. No questions asked.
TheBassist and I, well, we have our own plans. Worlds to discover here and everywhere. Love to make that will frighten the children. Adventures to be had and each other to entertain. We’re going to have so much fun. TheBassist is equipped to handle my foibles and crazy. We’re creating language to help us work through my brain. When he holds me close to him and tells me that no matter what I’m going through he’s got me, I know that I am loved, safe, and cherished.
I know I’m an extraordinarily lucky girl whose met two amazing men who would give her the world if they could. Now it’s time to finally heal.
Originally published at Exit, Pursued By A Bear. You can comment here or there.