About a month and a half ago, I wrote a post about how I was nearly certain my relationship was going to end because of my boyfriend’s need and desire to move back home to Indiana to be closer to his son (we’re in Minnesota). I got frantic for a few weeks, wracked with anxiety and a brand new sense of grief over losing what we’d been building for quite some time, and I wrestled with what this meant for me in the long-term.
The truth is that this is the first 100% sober relationship I’ve had in my entire adult life and it’s been truly wonderful. Despite our differences–and there are plenty–we’ve formed a bond that is healthy, strong, and stable. I feel better able to communicate in this relationship than I have in any relationship prior. I feel confident. I feel able to maneuver my life as I need to, knowing that he’ll be there. I feel supported.
So when he told me a month and a half ago that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to continue living here in Minnesota, even though I knew it was a possibility from the time we started dating back in late 2017, it completely broke me up. Before that, I’d managed to get wrapped up in daydreams about living together. I thought about what it might mean to be a more permanent figure in his son’s life. I even almost considered the idea of moving to rural Indiana, before realizing how much of a very not good idea that is for me, personally. I started envisioning something more future-oriented, and it felt good.
After a couple weeks, the feelings of sadness, grief, and anger started to settle, and I managed to find my way back into enjoying the relationship for what it was and what it is in the moment.
Tonight, after our usual taco tuesday dinner, we sat in my car and started talking again. I asked him if he’d had any more thoughts or come to any conclusions about what he was going to do.
He told me that he’s managed to stuff down the feeling of emptiness and sadness in the absence of his son fairly well until this point, and that he’s managed to keep himself busy enough with recovery & work & personal growth to distract from feeling too awful about being so far away… but he’s finally reached a point where knows he’d regret not re-integrating himself into his son’s life, more than he would reap any benefits from continuing to live in Minnesota. He gently admitted that he is planning to move back. He doesn’t know when–there’s no date set, no timeline in mind–but he knows that it’s going to happen by or before spring.
And so, we sat for a while and talked about how we wanted to move forward. He told me he’d understand if I needed to change how we interact with each other, or even if I needed to move on. But after some back and forth, we agreed that we wanted to keep seeing each other, now with a new understanding of what this relationship is, and with new boundaries in place to keep us both feeling safe.
As compared to a month and a half ago, I am feeling… sad, yes, and definitely a bit heartbroken, but more than that I am feeling a sense of relief.
Relief that there is something definitive, some knowledge now about how things are going to go. I can finally start to plan what my life is going to look like come spring, now that I know he won’t be around to move in with me, or even be in the area. I know that there is an end–I don’t know when, exactly, but I know it’s soon enough–and I know that this gives me more freedom to simply enjoy what time we do have together.
We can just…enjoy each other. And have fun. And yes, there will be a lot of bittersweetness to it. There is disappointment and sadness and grief wrapped up into this, for sure. But I feel comfortable with things now that we’ve had “the conversation.”
And above all that, I feel happy for his son, who is finally regaining the dad he deserves–a sober, engaged, attentive dad who wants nothing more than to be a stable part of his life. The way I look at it, his son’s gains far outweigh any loss I feel. We have the unique chance to amicably end a relationship from a common basis of love and respect for each other, and we can both look back with fondness of what we had/have together, as lovers and as best friends.
And that, I think, makes this roller coaster all totally worth it in the end.