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Our relationship endured, on and off, for 8 years. During the entire time, he had another, and he had many others. He would come sometimes to me right after one of them – I could tell because it would be more difficult to inspire the physical evidence of his excitement, and sometimes there was the residual smell and taste of the condom on him when he came to me. I didn’t care. At least, I told myself I didn’t care. We weren’t about monogamy, after all. He was engaged in an incestuous relationship that may as well have been a marriage. We were about sex. Yes, I was in love with him, but it didn’t mean we were in love. Remember, I am not the kind of girl men fall in love with :). I never looked him in the eyes – it would have been too much vulnerability. One day he said he was in love with me – but he couldn’t leave her. And then he tried to bring her into our relationship – make us a threesome. I did not reject her, I even felt badly for her, and in fact it was the moments sitting downstairs with him, caressing him and seeing that lust in his eyes, while I knew she was just upstairs, drowning in pain of what was happening in the next room, that made me unable to continue. In the end, I tried to break it off with him, but he seemed destroyed, so I came back. We engaged in a strange little dance for a few more months – he moving me further and further away, slowly. I let him let me down the easy way – easy for him – and one day I realized it had been over for a while. I had the conversation with him walking around the streets, crying, but begging him to let me let him go. And so he did. This is what I wrote just afterwards – things I never said to him:

You say one thing and then you say its opposite. I once thought you an innocent, and then I thought you a liar, and only now do I realize the depth of your neurosis. You change your mind every moment and forget what you felt yesterday because you are allowing others to choose your feelings for you. Your love for me was pure for as long as it was unknown by any others, for I never told you how to feel and no other knew well enough to try. Then you made the decision to end our relationship – whether you knew it or not, involving her was ending us. You have learned to believe that what she says of you is the truth. She governs your feelings on anything within which she is involved. Before her knowledge of our connection, you wanted permanence, not I. And once she became involved, you became certain that I wanted permanence, not you. And nothing will enlighten you, for your thoughts are her words. I did not before understand, but I believe I do now. You said things, walking around the block, as though they were just occurring to you then – old thoughts about what our relationship was. One moment asking me,, “What is over, anyway? We had nothing,” and the next telling me we treated our friendship like a monogamous relationship, that there was never anyone else for you. And I had though you confused, but now I see. Your will has been destroyed by your own decisions – decisions that you made when little more than a boy, but the consequences of which you must live with for the rest of your life. The decisions that you made will forever scar you – you can never evolve from them or change the direction of your life, for you made such permanent decisions, not realizing the terrible risk you were taking. A narcissist, you fell in love with the reflection of yourself, and now you are forever chained to that reflection. Even when you try to look away, to admit you feel no love, for it is to admit you feel no love for yourself, and that is unbearable. To betray it is to betray yourself, and to abandon it is to abandon yourself, for it has become you. You had to make it so in order to face what you had done. And worse, you cannot rest on a decision because you cannot face yourself, your true self and its desires and thoughts and wants, for long enough to really understand your feelings. Because to look at yourself is to see these horrible decisions and to view the cage within which you’ve placed yourself. The sad thing, darling, is your belief that I would claim you, another prison for your soul were you to finally break away from the one you’ve made. But I would never do so, for you are too scarred to love another and I cannot bear the neurosis. Your fear of entrapment by me is unfounded precisely because of that decision you made which created it. I wish that I could want you, but I know that the person you have become could never be the one I want. You should have been, yes, I believe if anything was ordained from above, it was this – but you have destroyed all possibility of its realization. And my situation, which once I believed a prison, I now realized was placed in my path to save me from hope, and to save me from this desire to possess you – to make it possible for me to live without you. For difficult though it is, though I think of you every night and every morning, cry for you when I’m alone – I can, and will, live without you.

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