It’s been a while since I’ve written–a month to be exact.
There’s always a certain amount of one’s own story that belongs to the others who feature in it; and there has been many a time I’ve violated another’s privacy by sharing publicly more than they were comfortable with. I didn’t know how to walk that line well while dating the Physicist; so, having erred on the side of over-sharing in times past, I just chose not to write at all this time around.
But I will be writing more now. And I will probably mention the physicist now and again, but mostly in generalities out of respect for his privacy and personhood. But the truth of the matter is that the physicist is now simply THE physicist rather than MY physicist. As of Sunday, 2.5 months after the officialness of our relationship began, it came to an unexpectedly abrupt end.
A while ago I wrote a post about rejection. And the wonderful thing about discussing that topic while not experiencing it is that I have a lot of great advice to refer to now that I’m in the process of mucking through that season.
Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice that past me gave present me is the reminder that wrong for me does not mean that he’s a jerk. He’s not a jerk, which is one of the reasons we dated in the first place. He’s still a great guy– as cheesy and punny and intelligent and musical and passionate about science as ever. And he will forever be the guy who watched subtitled foreign films with me, who was willing to stop at a random exit to go hiking in unknown territory while road tripping, who sang science parodies to me on Pi Day, who was willing to break into random dance with me in public, who introduced me to the music of Andrew Peterson, and who taught me the GREAT FUN that is Killer Bunnies. He’s a wonderful guy–just not the right guy for me, nor am I the right girl for him. An amazing weekend trip we took to see some of my fabulous friends from college compelled us to discuss differences in philosophies on significant topics that have profound impact on relationships. Differences can be a good thing, but not when they are foundational to worldview. We both desire a relationship that leads to two wholes forming a different whole; but we were not at one with some deeply held ideologies.
And discovering those deep things and learning to recognize whether or not you share them is what dating is for. I know a great many conservative people who have a low opinion of dating– who think that one should only date someone they know well and have already formed a solid friendship with. But when you are in your late 20s and in a new area where you don’t know anyone, it’s pretty impossible to form friendships with members of the opposite gender and learn any of these things without dating.
And if nothing else, one thing I hope to walk away with when all the dust of transition has settled is a solid friendship. This was perhaps the most amicable parting I’ve ever experienced: there was no casting of blame, no harsh words, no rancor–Just an acknowledgment of differences that would prevent the kind of life-long commitment we both seek. But I do have high hopes for remaining friends after we get past that awkwardness of being in each other’s presence without the connection of significant otherness and all the trappings therein entailed.
Of course there have been/will be tears. And ice cream. And chocolate. And more tears. (Whoever said “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened” needs to be smacked. In the face. With a chair.) It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to mourn the ending of a relationship that has only grown in significance since we first met in November. To everything there is a season. And this will be a season of recovery. A season of goodbye. A season of reconstructing my weekends and finding other avenues to explore. A season of putting away my glass quill pen and artisan ink until such a time as I have reason to use them again. A season for letting go of hopes while accepting the precious gift of what is and the grace of being able to continue respecting the physicist in spite of our differences.
And if a relationship must end, that is how it should.