ex-as-friend

This is sort of unusual for me, but a few comments from friends on IG have made me realize it's probably just easier to respond here than in a massive reply on Instagram. The comment that was made and echoed by a couple others is essentially, Ellie, you say you and A. are wrong for one another, but your writing says differently. The way you write about him is lovely.

Ok so first, that's really nice to hear. :) Thank you. Second: you have to take into account that the other day, we took a drug. Called ecstasy. LOL. I don't know which, if any, of the readers of this blog have taken ecstasy or its purer, mellower sister MDMA (ok well I know a few, haha), but if you haven't, the thing to remember is that it's (obviously) perception altering. Joy enhancing. Like wearing the most magical, rose-colored glasses you can imagine. All that is ugly and dull and bad in life drops away. Actually, that's not true (for me, anyway). All that is ugly and dull and bad in life is still there, but you're able to view it with a positive, bigger-picture perspective than you're able to, otherwise. You really do realize: it's all ok.

(I hate to glorify drug use any more than I know I already do, but the truth is, my experiences with ecstasy, MDMA, and particularly mushrooms have really changed my life. I've found a way to bring that amazing, wider perspective back from those highs, so I can call on it again, albeit in a limited way, when I'm sober. It takes a conscious effort to do it. You have to really stop and imprint on yourself what it is you're thinking and feeling in that moment. It's like putting a stamp on your emotional passport, so that even though you have to leave that beautiful, exotic country, back at home you're able to flip through it again, and remember those sensations and thoughts. It's takes practice, but it's possible. The first person to ever give me ecstasy taught me how.)

So, knowing that we were extremely high when we spent the day together might help explain my romanticized view of it. Also, there's a sort of day-after "glow" to MDMA, under which I wrote the post. But I know that I've written other posts about him that give the same positive impression. So what's up with that? It's hard to explain, but I'll try.

A. and I tap into something special for one another. He's so silly and playful and creative and affectionate. I mean, you guys remember those posts from last year, when we were getting to know one another? All the horsing around on the streets, the public affection, all the things he made for me, all the clever texts and romantic whatnots? That shit is amazing. I love that shit. Who wouldn't, right? But I mean, I really, really love it. It brought me immediately back to another relationship I had, the one that spanned into my late twenties, where I was involved with someone very similar. Someone very youthful and full of life, who would leave love notes in my pockets for me, or show up in a costume at our door (we lived together), just for the fun of it. He made me feel incredibly special. And A. did the same thing. I mean, he really would do anything for me, and still tells me so all the time. And as someone who didn't feel particularly treasured as a child or teenager, finding someone who flipped that paradigm and made me feel lovable in a way I never had - it was, and is, amazing.

And I do something similar for A. I fill a certain need for him. I don't really like to speak for him, but I'm fairly sure he'd agree with me on how that breaks down, because this is stuff we've talked about a lot. For one thing, he has a hard time connecting with his emotions sometimes, and he feels that's something I'm good at (connecting with my own emotions, that is). So, I don't know. I think maybe I help him with that? He is also incredibly, heartbreakingly hard on himself. He starts to think nothing he does is good enough, that he's not good enough, in spite of how smart (I mean, I never even went into his mechanical and technical acumens, which are mind blowing - the guy can build anything, and there's nothing computer related he can't master) and talented he is. And I was always very good about validating him in that way, and making him feel his worth. He also has a hard time just letting go and enjoying the fun side of life sometimes, of relaxing and being in the moment. And he always said that he feels like I'm the opposite - that I'm very vibrant and fun-loving and able to soak up the happy, present moments. So it was refreshing and uplifting for him to be around that energy, maybe?

Also, and this is a big one: he feels happiest when he has someone to love and to care for. And, holy shit, think about how much love and care I needed coming off of the death of my father. He's built to be a boyfriend, he really is, and he's extremely good at it.

But.

But as much as we hit those very nice buttons for one another, they're actually very superficial, circumstantially-based things. And there's a lot more to relationships. Relationships have to have a solid foundation of shared values, which A. and I don't have. Or if values isn't the right word, maybe perspective is what I mean. It's really, really difficult to explain what I mean by this without sounding critical of him, and that's the last thing I want to do. A. is an incredible person, but he's built a different way than me. His background and experiences have led him to be one kind of person, and mine have led me to be another. Not better or worse - just different. When he and I move through life, we often experience things very differently. We relate to the world, and to people, in different ways. Someone could say the exact same thing, under the exact same circumstances, to both us, and we'd interpret, process, and respond to it very differently. It might make me upset, and it would be something he'd laugh off. Or it might draw me in and make me like that person, whereas it would alienate or anger him. And that's just an example of someone saying something. Extrapolate that out to events, and to behaviors, and you can imagine the sort of disagreements that would ensue.

I know that's very vague and esoteric, but it's the model of our relationship that we saw played out, again and again and again, in our time together. And it led to a lot of arguing and hurt feelings and miscommunication and alienation. (And as I was still in a world of pain over the loss of my dad, all of that was amplified in the most awful way.)

And I mean, there were also some of your garden-variety, more mundane relationship issues, too. I could list them, but whatever, we all know where the standard faultlines are. And some couples have what it takes to hold tight through those quakes and tremors, because they have that solid foundation. We didn't. We don't.

It took me an age and a half to get over him, partly because it was so easy to get deceived by the many lovely-but-somewhat-superficial connections we have, and partly because I was so sensitive to more loss in my life. But we really are just friends now. We don't actually talk very often, we don't follow one another on IG or text, or anything like that. We give one another plenty of space, because we both do want to meet and date other people. But he lives a few blocks away, and we do run into one another every so often. We also just reach out here and there for support or a hello, or a quick coffee when we need it. And if I'm ever out and stranded/effed up (which happened more recently than this 37-year old would like to admit), or need a ride someplace, he's there in a heartbeat. I can't quite return the favor for him in that way, not having a car, but I do what I can to be there for him in other ways. I try to be especially supportive where his painting is concerned, and lately I've been very excited to how much he's been experimenting with new ideas, new mediums, etc. The guy is ridiculously motivated, and just got back from a whirlwind trip to NY, Miami, and Chicago to promote and sell his stuff, and to get representation. I have enormous respect for him as a person, and I'm lucky as fuck to count him an ex-as-friend, because in my opinion, that's a really unique and special bond worth keeping (when it's good for both parties).

tl;dr: we have tremendous affection for and appreciation of one another, but we're just not compatible as partners.

Hope that clears things up a bit, and thanks for being interested enough to comment about it.  :)