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Platonic Fission

Saturday, May 10th, 2014 by

This is a love story.  It is an atypical love story; there are no happily-ever-afters or till-death-do-you-parts.

Six years ago I met a tall awkward boy at a park for a first date. We talked for three hours. I did not think I would see him again. Later, much later, he would become one of the most important people in my life, one of my closest friends, my “Vanilla Ex”. That day, at the park, I did not think he was interested. I could not have been more wrong.

But that is not where this story begins. No, this story begins with a break-up.


We had been dating for nearly two years at that point and I very nearly hated him. We argued almost every day and there was an ever-growing pile of resentment weighing the relationship down. But even through all of that, somehow, I was sure I was in love. Until one day I looked in the mirror and realized that I not only didn’t think I liked him very much anymore, but that I didn’t like myself. We talked. We agreed it wasn’t working anymore. We ended it.

And yet, somehow, it didn’t stop. We kept talking, kept seeing one another. We kept having sex. And oddly, unexpectedly, things got better. We stopped fighting so much, started to communicate better. The resentment lifted. Now that I no longer begrudged him for not being all the things I wanted him to be, I could appreciate  all the things he was. He was accepting. He was supportive. He was funny and kind.

Our relationship wasn’t perfect, by any means. We still quarrelled at times. I still occasionally fell into the habit of wanting him to be something he wasn’t. But, mostly, things were great, infinitely better than they had been. We kept on like that, for years.

And then, it was time for me to move away. He helped me move across two states, drove me 1000 miles, all for the friendship and love he had for me.

The last night we spent together, I teared up. “DON’T,” he said. “DON’T DO IT.” He’s terrible with emotion, and I stifled myself. I knew it may very well be the last time we had sex, and I was worried that we would no longer be as close, now that we no longer had a physical tie to bind us together.

The last time we saw one another was five months ago. I was back home for the holidays and had been visiting with him, but it was once again time to say goodbye, and he walked me to the train station. The impulse to kiss him goodbye was gone. My lips had forgotten that need. Yet it was harder, much harder, to let him go. This time, unlike the last, I could not hold back my tears, and down they came unexpectedly. Despite the fact that any romantic aspirations for him had faded away, my heart squeezed something terrible in my chest. I did not know when I would see him again. The thought troubled me more than I’d thought it would and I cried.

No chastisement over tears came from him this time, no discomfort with my emotional display. Instead, he hugged me and told me he loved me, words that do not come easy from him. True, we had lost the same physical intimacy, but our relationship was not so different than it had been. I had been worried it would be, and told him as much. “I wasn’t,” he said mildly.

One of the things he provides is an unshakable faith in me. Even when I feel I am uncertain of anything and everything, I can be certain of that, and of his love and good intentions for me. Consequently, I trust and admire him more than almost anyone else in the world. I never want us to have a romantic relationship again, but I also never want to lose him from my life.

Our society values romantic love above all others. Romantic love is wonderful, I agree. But I’ve often thought that platonic love can be just as powerful, just as life-changing, and that is something that is rarely acknowledged.

Love can grow. Love can change. People are not immutable, nor are our relationships. But just because they are different doesn’t mean they are broken, or any less valuable. And just because a relationship doesn’t fit one particular societal mold doesn’t mean it should be discarded entirely.

The day we decided we could no longer be together, I cried and cried, mourning the loss of that relationship. But I needn’t have. We didn’t break our relationship that day. We fixed it.

4 Responses to “Platonic Fission”

  1. Stan says:

    This is the second time I have read your blog. The first was ten days ago when, because of my interest in male submission, I discovered your blog while in a treatment room waiting for my wife to return.(she knows of my interest)

    I bring my laptop because its better than the stale magazines the offices and treatment centers offer. Its makes the time pass more quickly and its a great way to medicate the fear I experience waiting for my wife’s radiation to end. I’m scared a lot these days.

    Admittedly, part of the medication is the sexual rush. That, however is temporary, and I quickly move on to one of the many other blogs that inhabit the internet. There is a never ending array of different medications available with a simple tap of the “enter” button.

    I return, most often, to those that have more to offer. That is why I came back to yours this evening. I am truly grateful for what I found.

    I have spent the last 40 years working with the English language, reading it, studying it, loving it.

    This post is a moving piece of writing. Beyond the “hook” of the opening, beyond the word choice and sentence structure is an aching beauty of love and human connection.

    Words have brought me to my knees, moved me to tears, and filled me with lasting joy. Yours did that for me tonight. Thank you.

  2. Hayg says:

    Ditto to what Stan said. I love your writing and this one especially so.

  3. KinkyBrain says:

    THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!! Great friendships are amazing, powerful, life-changing things. You may not feel “happily-ever-after” but a friendship as beautiful as this one can continue to bring you joy and happiness throughout your life, even when you are separated by thousands of miles.

  4. slapshot says:

    Great story! It is somewhat similar to what I’ve gone through with my ex. We started out as friends and eventually fell in love and got married. We were together for 13 years and then it fell apart. In spite of fights, bitterness, and terrible things said, by both of us, we overcame it and decided to put our friendship first.

    In the four years since I left, she has become disabled and is now living with me again until she recovers. Even though there are still tense moments, from time to time, we have agreed that our friendship is of vital importance to both of us and we will continue to support each other as we each chart our own path through life.

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