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Working it Out On Valentine’s Day

Feb. 7, 2017
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Back on Jan. 2 I received a call from a good friend, a mutual confidant and confessor. After some chitchat about the dire state of political affairs, he said, almost as an aside, “I saw Thomas.” Now, to clarify, Thomas is his ex. Things went south between the two back in July. Since then, Thomas’ late night window poundings and barrages of unrepeatable texts had ceased, save for sporadic “I still love you” and “I miss you” messages. My friend never answered any of them. There was an exchange of “Merry Christmas” texts but he managed to stay steadfast and ignore the follow-up messages that begged for a reply. 

Then, after Christmas, several letters for the ex arrived and it was obvious they were important. Thomas sent a midnight “Happy New Year” text. My friend responded late the next night and mentioned the letters. After an hour’s worth of back-and-forth texts with Thomas pleading to come over right then and there to get the mail, my buddy relented.

He rationalized the change of heart based on something he had recently read about forgiveness. It was the New Year’s, after all. Besides…bygones. And, truth be told, he missed Thomas. Of course, after the break-up, he had vowed it was over and his other supportive friends insisted he never see the guy again (of course, their relationships, if they had any, weren’t exemplary either). He even read up on abusive relationships. But, at least according to the criteria, Thomas’ behavior wasn’t abuse. It certainly brought about their crisis, but it wasn’t abuse in the clinical or legal sense.

The other thing was their relationship was based on that familiar rubric of No-Strings-Attached. Still, after 10 years, there were strings and eight months or so prior to the “incident,” Thomas had moved in with my friend. Unconventional as it may have been, for all intents and purposes, they were compatible. There’s something about the comfort of congenial companionship, for better or worse.  

Someone once suggested I write about same-sex marriage and how LGBTs abuse the privilege. He said I should shame those who get married and still live in open relationships or other variations beyond monogamy. “All marriages should have the same rules,” he insisted. I replied the straight marriages he thought we should emulate were far beyond sacrosanct. They certainly weren’t all happily-ever-after fairytale pairings with two kids and a dog. In fact, very few are. The reality is, nowadays, if any relationship works, whether within the confines of wedlock or not, those in it should consider themselves lucky and be happy. And their friends should be happy for them. 

So, to make a long story short, sometimes a good Wisconsin polar vortex is just what a couple needs to rediscover how well they fit together…sort of those amoeba-shaped puzzle pieces, as my friend explained. Things between them may never return to what they once were. But, one never knows, one day, they might. Meanwhile, I asked my friend if he and Thomas had any special Valentine’s Day plans to celebrate their make-up. He shrugged, “Maybe dinner on the couch like before.”

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