How My Toxic Relationship Made Me A Better Person

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Love is one tricky motherfucker. It, like fire, is immeasurable and can really burn you. Like, burn you and leave you with residual pain long after the initial burn took place. A little over a year ago, I subconsciously began to fall in love with one of my very good friends. One faithful night, the two of us ended up in a bed together. The physical connection sparked an incredible explosion in my brain that revealed that we hadn’t been “just friends” in quite some time. This relationship that materialized over g-chat, text massage, and the sporadic drunk phone call seemed so entirely perfect. However, there was one minor problem: We were both guys, and neither of us had come out of the closet.

Regardless of the fact that I knew Charlie had trouble admitting he was bisexual to himself, I decided to pursue this relationship strictly based on the raw emotions I felt for this human being. Charlie had graduated from college two years before our secret relationship started, and I was still a junior. He would convince his friends to come visit for random events like “alumni networking day” and things like that. When possible, I would go down to D.C. and the days would pass by like hours. For an entire year, I would pretend that him and I were nothing more than friends. I would ignore how much that bothered me because when we were finally alone together, none of that mattered. We were able to go into our own little world away from everything that kept us apart.

Long story short, after a year of late night phone calls, secret weekends together, and one 5-day vacation to California, Charlie cut communication with me completely. Without any closure, any explanation, it was as if I had been nothing more to Charlie than an old friend from college. I was left with nothing other than my own sadness to keep me warm at night. I would recount on every single conversation to try and find where it went wrong, but to no avail.

It took me a few months to realize that I wasn’t going to find an answer in all the saved text messages and happy memories, only the sad truth that I knew all along: Charlie and I never had a future. I was never going to be the person Charlie brought home to his parents. I was never going to be his plus one to his friends weddings, and I was never going to be able to tell my friends about the person I believed to be the love of my life. I used to think I wasted an entire year of my life with this guy, passing up on opportunities to meet anyone new. I was wrong. Before Charlie, I had never felt what it was like to be in love. I had never felt what it was like to place someone else’s happiness over my own. I learned the hard way that there is love out there, and if both parties are not 100% on board, that love has an expiration date. I’m a better person today because I’m happy. I may have spent an extra year of my life hiding who I was in order to preserve my relationship with Charlie, but while I was doing that I became more and more happy with who I was. If it weren’t for everything that happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell my friends that I’m bisexual. I harbor no hate for Charlie, only hope. I hope one day he finds someone who makes him as happy as he made me. I hope that sooner rather than later he lets go of his grand notion that he needs to end up with a wife and kids, and considers the possibility that he could be happy with another man. You can’t force other people to love you, and you can’t force other people out of the closet. The only thing you can force is your own happiness, whether or not it’s with the person you thought held the key. TC Mark

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